The production of carbon fibre and carbon fibre reinforced plastics from the basic feedstock materials is a complex process.
The production of polyacrylonitrile (PAN, white) fibre from the acrylonitrile (AN) raw material accounts for about 50% of the carbon (black) fibre production cost and determines about 80% of the final properties. CSIRO is developing novel carbon fibre feedstock material using our patented RAFT polymer technology and other techniques to carefully control the chemistry of the raw material to produce high quality bespoke carbon fibre.
CSIRO can produce PAN materials with high molecular weights and well defined structures and properties leading to better quality PAN fibres with a compact microstructure. This translates to higher strength and modulus carbon fibres, resulting in the production of lighter and cheaper composite components.
We expect to make aerospace-grade carbon fibre that’s 20% stronger than what’s currently available. That’s a game changer and the sort of disruptive commercial advantage Australia needs to establish its own carbon fibre industry.