20. September 2017 | Research & Development

Mission accomplished: drastic cost reduction of carbon fibres

Preisverleihung Paul Schlack-Preis
Award presentation Paul Schlack Man-made Fibers Prize and Paul Schlack Honorary Prize; f. l. t. r.: Prof. Dr Gunnar Seide, Dr Andreas De Palmenaer, Dr Gisa Wortberg, Dr Markus Beckers, Prof. Dr Thomas Gries (all ITA)
Source: L&M Marketing
Since 1971, the Paul Schlack Man-made Fibers Prize for the promo-tion of chemical fibre research at universities and research institutes has been awarded at the Dornbirn Man-made Fibers Congress. On September 13, 2017, two ITA post-docs - Dr Gisa Wortberg and Dr Andreas De Palmenaer - received the prestigious Paul Schlack Man-made Fibers Prize. The award ceremony took place during the opening ceremony of the MFC Dornbirn in Dornbirn, Austria.

Dr Wortberg and Dr De Palmenaer have worked on the development of polyethylene-based carbon fibres as part of their doctorate at the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) of RWTH Aachen University. Within the framework of their dissertations, it was possible to reduce the cost of carbon fibres drastically, which goes far beyond existing research efforts. Dr Wortberg focussed on the development of polyethylene-based carbon fibres for thermochemical stabilisation, while Dr De Palmenaer worked on the conversion of the polyethylene-based precursors. As an alternative precursor material, polyethylene was chosen for carbon fibre production, which is spun in the melt spinning process and sulphonated, in order to be finally converted into carbon fibres. Dr Wortberg and Dr De Palmenaer have demonstrated the technical feasibility, the controllability of the process chain as well as the eco-nomic basic potential of the approach. In contrast to other research efforts, precursor development on an industrial scale and sulphona-tion and carbonisation is continuously.

Drastic cost reduction of carbon fibres
The targets of the automotive industry with respect to price (5 - 12 Euro/kg) and carbon fibre properties (tensile strength: 1.730 - 2.800 MPa; E-Modulus: 155 - 190 GPa) were fully met with this approach. The goal of implementing a possibility for cost reduction using an alternative precursor material has been fully achieved.

Paul Schlack-Honorary Prize awarded to ITA project leader
On the 13th of September 2017 in the course of the opening of the 56th chemical fibre conference Dornbirn 2017, Dr Markus Beckers of Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) at RWTH Aachen University was awarded with the Paul Schlack-Honorary Prize 2017 for the project “Development and analysis of a new manufacturing process for pol-ymer optical fibres (POF)”. With this prize, named after the inventor Paul Schlack of Polyamide 6/Perlon, the European Man-Made Fibres Association annually awards a project leader of joint projects from academia and industry, which research constitute outstanding achievements in the field of chemical fibres. Also involved in the project were the companies Deutsche Telekom AG, Bonn, Perlon-Monofil GmbH, Dormagen, and Sojitz Europe plc., Düsseldorf.

edited by Angelika Hörschelmann

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