E 44cﬁ/Ber. DKG
(2011) No. 4
The advancement of human civiliza-tion has been aided and conse-quently marked by progress in theprocessing and use of advancedmaterials. Advances in materials pro-cessing have been critical inputs tothe economic prowess of societiesthroughout history. As evidenced byartifacts found through the stoneage, bronze age and then iron age,the processing of materials into toolslay at the heart of the socio-eco-nomic fabric of societies.Today, advanced materials ranging from the latest silicon-based solar panel, nanoscale electronic devicesto advanced composites in cars andaircrafts play a central role in theadvancement of technology.Technological challenges in materi-als processing, particularly in thearea of high temperatures, should beviewed as opportunities to innovateand create value.
In a recent engagement with one of America’s leading research centers at
, a demonstration of innovation was brought to bear on advancing state-of-art hightemperature processing in carbon fibers. Georgia Tech required anespecially distinctive configuration inthe line to accommodate fractionaltow sizes in the range of less than100 filaments. This condition was achallenge as it pushed the bound-aries for typical carbon fiber process-ing, as traditional commercial CFlines handle tow sizes of 3K, andrarely down to 1K.
Harper Inter -national’s
expert design team wasable to devise a proprietary solutionto this challenge, enablingresearchers to achieve their goals of processing material more quicklyand utilizing less expensive additives.
Carbon Fibers – a Focus inMaterial Research
“Harper’s thermal processing sys-tems will be used in our advancedmaterials research at Georgia Tech,”commented
Dr. Satish Kumar,
Profes-sor at the School of Materials Scienceand Engineering. “Solving toughproblems with real world solutions ispart of what we do at Georgia Tech. We are always interested in finding
creative, technologically-focusedpartners to assist with our research."Carbon fibers including carbonnanotubes containing carbon fibersare a prime area of focus in advancedmaterials research due to their increased strength, flexibility, andunique electrical properties. Carbonnanotubes are of potential use inmany applications across almost all fields of science, engineering, andtechnology, and help expand therealm of nanotechnology throughtheir utilization in controlling other nanoscale structures. Additionally, it is critical to placeimportance on viewing innovationthrough the lens of environmentaland economic sustainability. This isone of today’s foremost challengesthat our society must address. It isideal to strive toward reaching andbecoming the benchmark in energyefficiency, which translates intohigher operational efficiencies. In aneffort to advance this position, aunique furnace system with dual functionality was recently developed for a major US national laboratoryengaged in research, development,and commercialization of newadvanced materials that emulatesthe ideals of energy efficiency.
High TemperatureMaterials Processing– Challenges and Innovation
Dr. Arun Bodapati
Harper InternationalLancaster, NYwww.harperintl.com
Carbon fiber furnace
(courtesy: Harper International)