475766 Introduction and Study on Electron-Beam Assisted Stabilization Process for Cost-Effective Manufacture of Carbon Fibers: Process to Bring about Wide Application of Lightweight Structural Composites for Sustainable Environment
The manufacturing process of CFs derived from polyacrylonitrile (PAN, the most common precursor polymer of CF) can generally be divided into three processing steps: 1) spinning and stretching, 2) stabilization (200~300 °C) and 3) carbonization (≥1000 °C). A number of experimental parameters associated in each step have been extensively optimized for the energy and time effective manufacture of the CFs. Among these three steps, the stabilization is the most crucial step as a determinant of not only high performance but also of processing cost due to lengthy heat treatment. The conventional stabilization is carried out by passing the fibers through a series of convection ovens with gradual temperature gradient (200~300 °C) for two to three hours, which is the most time and energy consuming step. As one of the methods to shorten such lengthy step with expensive energy consumption, electron beam irradiation on PAN precursor fibers has been employed prior to short thermal treatment. In conclusion, with short treatment of electron beam (200 sec), the irradiated fibers were successfully stabilized with short time of thermal treatment (30 min). In the presentation, we briefly overview the environmental impacts if the CF composites are commonly applied to transportation parts and approaches towards low manufacture cost of CF for each of manufacturing step. In particular, as one of the specific suggestions to the problem and study, the electron beam treatment for energy-effective stabilization will be explained in detail by presenting several characterizations of irradiated PAN fibers.
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