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Awards Registry

Tailored Carbon Fiber Technology for High Volume Industrial Applications
Profile last edited on: 5/26/2022

Program
SBIR
Agency
NSF
Total Award Amount
$1,263,778
Award Phase
2
Principal Investigator
Connie Jackson
Activity Indicator

Location Information

Crosslink Composites Inc

1540 Riggs Chapel Road
Harriman, TN 37748
Multiple Locations:   
Congressional District:   03
County:   Roane

Phase I

Phase I year
2020
Phase I Amount
$275,917
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is technology that encompasses the development of customizable carbon fiber products and package formats at a low cost. Lack of suitable raw materials and corresponding processes has largely stymied the development and manufacturing of many high-volume industrial composite applications. The current advanced material reinforcement knowledge base is built on technology developed to serve space/aerospace composite material applications, which are relatively low-volume and cost-insensitive markets. This project focuses on creating a new platform designed specifically for high-volume, cost-sensitive industrial composite applications. The resulting carbon fiber products from this advanced material delivery platform can be tailored to facilitate a broad range of industrial composite applications currently unmet or underserved, such as automotive, wind energy and infrastructure applications. This will potentially enable sizable performance and efficiency gains in those industries.This SBIR Phase I project proposes to demonstrate proof-of-concept for a new carbon fiber format technology platform. The proposed technology platform entails delivering carbon fiber with customizable tow linear densities produced from a universal conversion feedstock while seeking to maintain requisite and optimal physical properties of the carbon fiber. Physical properties of multi-level samples will be analyzed iteratively to determine acceptable linear density boundaries. Prototype mechanical devices will be developed to explore multiple viable approaches to optimize processes for the target product formats. The project also will determine the material handling viability of the resulting products for downstream composite uses. The project will explore the trade space of carbon fiber production economics, application requirements, and product performance.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Phase II

Phase II year
2022 (last award dollars: 2022)
Phase II Amount
$987,861
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR ) Phase II project will be to address the customized needs of automotive applications with tailored high performance-low cost carbon fiber (HP-LCCF) products that are not currently commercially available. The broader impact of HP-LCCF technology is to enable hydrogen fuel cell vehicle technologies to help mitigate the climate change linked emissions caused by fossil fuel powered vehicles. Volume projections of HP-LCCF for this application are expected to ramp up significantly over the ten years. After successful entry into the automotive market, the focus will be expanded to address needs in the wind energy market and with a tailored HP-LCCF product to enable longer blades for larger and more efficient wind turbines. This technology will help spur global adoption of clean, renewable energy sources.The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project develops a process where heavy tow carbon fiber is subdivided using an electromechanical splitting process that can maintain an acceptable range of regular tow carbon fiber linear densities. Subsequent tailoring trials will verify the capability to achieve and maintain the linear density targets provided by the automotive industry partners who will, in turn, perform downstream manufacturability trials. Subdividing the heavy tows enables a seamless commercial entry into customers' downstream composite manufacturing processes without an inherent, potentially fatal heavy tow defect. Such defects are typically non-uniform intra-band tension caused by the transverse catenary forces across the tow band. Achieving high band linear density and variable intra-band tension are significant barriers for the commercial adoption of heavy tow high performance, low cost carbon fibers (HP-LCCF). The process developed here may eliminate such issues and achieve commercially relevant HP-LCCF.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.