CARBON FIBER DEVELOPMENT – SECOND QUARTER 2016

The second Quarter 2016 continues to show a lot of development in carbon fiber adoption in various industries. Automotive, marine, aviation & aerospace. Here are some of the significant achievements reported during the second quarter.

Automotive

After the success of the Geneva auto show introducing several new concept cars all carbon, British supercar-maker McLaren has already pre-sold every single one of the 25 limited-edition MSO Carbon Series LTs it plans to produce.
The selling price is $515,000 and for that large lump sum, buyers get a 666-horsepower supercar with a unique gloss finish. The LT was already mostly made from carbon fiber. However, this MSO Carbon Series features 40 percent more carbon than before.
Lamborghini has proven itself an industry leader in the development and application of carbon fiber. So much so, it formed an alliance with Boeing to apply its know-how in composites to the aerospace industry. The supercar manufacturer has opened its new Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory in Seattle, close to where the aircraft manufacturer is based. Away from headquarters in Sant'Agata in Italy, the ACSL will help Lamborghini further develop the high-tech material for production applications. Clearly once again we can see the similarity between cars and aerospace when it comes to carbon fibers and composites applications.
Lamborghini is not new to using carbon as it started using carbon fiber as early as the Countach 5000 QV in 1985, but only recently stepped up to using it more comprehensively in the structure of its vehicles. Where the Murcielago, for example, was built around a steel frame, the Aventador that replaced it is based on a carbon monocoque. The Huracan uses some carbon fiber in combination with aluminum for its chassis. But limited-run supercars like the Sesto Elemento and Centenario have used carbon fiber even more extensively.

Aerospace

For applications in the aerospace and space industry, Engineers at the German plant engineering company EPC Engineering Consulting GmbH have successfully designed the first carbon fiber demo plant in Germany with complete process steps: a miniature version for hands-on experience and experimentation. The complex offers exciting opportunities for the research and development of new possibilities in the field of carbon fiber - before an industrial plant is built. The demonstration plant has been designed and built to simplify the scaling process, that is, the process changes depending on the plant's size. Here, extensive tests were preceded before all the processes were mapped out reliably. The demo facility consists in small scale of all the steps involved in the production of carbon fiber, such as polymerization, precursor production, oxidation and carbonization.
Solar Impulse 2 took off from New York early on Monday, attempting a historic solar-powered flight across the Atlantic. The four-day flight is the 15th leg of Solar Impulse 2’s epic attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Piloted by Solar Impulse Chairman Bertrand Piccard, the single-seater is expected to land in Seville, Spain on June 23. Solar Impulse 2, which arrived in New York on June 11, has travelled more than 18,540 miles since setting off on the first leg of the trip from Abu Dhabi to Oman in March 2015, and has racked up over 390 hours of flight time. Clearly this success was allowed because of the extensive use of carbon in the concept plane.

At the Everett plant Boeing celebrated unveiled its new Composite Wing Center, a $1 billion, 1.3 million-square-foot facility to build carbon-fiber wings for the 777X jetliner.
The Composite Wing Center is seen as key to the 777X program, because it will be where the jetliner's innovative carbon-fiber composite materials wings will be manufactured. Carbon-fiber composites are being used more and more in manufacturing, from cars to planes. Boeing's 787, used more composite material than any other commercial airplane when it was launched in 2004. Carbon-fiber composites are prized for a high strength-to-weight ratio. They don't easily fatigue or corrode like metal. They're easy to mold and shape; bonded structures are smoother and more aerodynamic than those that are riveted. Carbon-fiber composites require special storage and handling and expensive equipment to create. They require a skilled work force to create and repair.
The 777X will use even more carbon-fiber composites than the 787. With the composite material wings, the 777X is expected to boast lower fuel consumption and operating costs than the competition.
That's appealing to customers who above all else want an aircraft that is efficient to operate. With this giant new conclave, Boeing will be able to build wings that have fewer pieces. This is clearly an exciting development and good news for the entire industry.

Clearly the trend is continuing and carbon fibers is in big demand. Price remains the main obstacle but it is slowly coming down with an increased demand for large quantity.

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Libra6 Management, Corp. invests in Cleantech and alternative technology and is currently leading an investment in California Carbon Industry.

www.libra6management.com

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