New technology is expected to significantly reduce the cost of industrial grade, standard modulus carbon fibre pilot-line scale by 2017 but there is still a need to reduce the cost of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) derived carbon fibre.
At Carbon Nexus we are investigating how precursor can be processed in a more energy efficient manner. Our multidisciplinary approach includes modelling the thermal efficiency of the system as well as systematically understanding the effect of experimental conditions.
There is also enormous potential to reduce cost in PAN precursor production by replacing expensive and non-environmentally friendly solvents.
Alternative precursors to PAN that are currently under investigation at Carbon Nexus include recycled polystyrene as well as nanocellulose reinforced natural polymers. Our partnership with CSIRO will also explore the use of bio-derived monomers that will be polymerised into carbon fibre precursors.