Carbon fiber precursor with 80k tow

The carbon fiber polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor with a tow of 80,000 individual filaments.
The carbon fiber polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor with a tow of 80,000 individual filaments.

Spanish company MontefibreCarbon has developed a new carbon fiber polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor with a tow of 80,000 individual filaments.

According to the company, the precursor is produced from a PAN formulation that can produce a carbon fiber with higher resistance, higher elastic modulus, and lower density which in turn can make more rigid and lightweight composites. MontefibreCarbon says that the new precursor could be the new standard for large-tow carbon fiber for industrial purposes, with an impact on the industry similar to the 50k tow, first launched more than 20 years ago.

The initial Montefibre 80k product range will reportedly consist of the M500 and M600 for non-aerospace use, with standard modulus (SM). The first production line of Montefibre 80k fiber will come into operation in mid-2020 with an annual capacity of 3,000 tonnes of PAN precursor, and two other production lines will start operating in 2021, reaching an initial capacity of 11,000 tonnes per year, which can be transformed into around 5,000 tonnes of carbon fiber. The current ranges, Montefibre M500 and M600 series are not subject to export restrictions as they are not a precursor of carbon fiber for aeronautical or defense use, MontefibreCarbon says.

The company says that Montefibre 80-M500-SM can produce standard industrial quality carbon fiber, type T300, with a tensile strength of 500 ksi (3.5 Gpa) and a modulus of 33 msi (230 Gpa), mainly designed for use in sheet molding compound (SMC) for press molding, in pellets for injection molding, and milled for 3D printing and construction.

Montefibre 80-M600-SM can produce carbon fiber with a tensile strength of 600 ksi (4.1 Gpa) and a modulus of 34 msi (235 Gpa), mainly designed for pultrusion, UD tapes, NCF prepreg, and filament winding.

Thermal profile

‘The tests we have carried out over the last year have confirmed that the M500 and M600 series have an exceptional thermal profile that allows for high performance and low energy consumption in conventional oxidation and carbonization lines,’ said MontefibreCarbon's research director, María Simon.

‘The new Montefibre M500 and M600 in 80k will make carbon fiber universally accessible to globally expand the substitution of steel, aluminium, and glass fiber in many applications outside the aerospace market, such as marine, construction, or automotive,’ addded Alfonso Cirera, president. ‘We have been surprised to see the enormous gap of knowledge that exists between manufacturers that are integrated into large carbon groups and those outside those supply chains. There is no need to complicate or create artificial barriers to the use of carbon fiber. This advanced material can be used in virtually any standard industrial process.’

MontefibreCarbon says that it also developing, in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United States, a carbon fiber with cables of 320k and 480k, in quality M500, that will be launched to the market in 2021. The company aims to become the first independent manufacturer of carbon fiber precursor and to produce around 33,000 tonnes per year by 2025, representing approximately 12% of the estimated 2025 global demand for industrial uses. In the long term, the objective is to reach a capacity of 75,000 tonnes of precursor to bring to market about 35,000 tonnes of carbon fiber.

This story uses material from MontefibreCarbon, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.