Carbon fiber research and development line - Courtesy of Georgia Institute of TechnologyEven our smallest scientific scale Carbon Fiber research and development line emulates real world production across all equipment, yet delivers the precision and flexibility needed to aid research efforts and future scale up. Requiring only one person to operate, this inventive system is designed to handle very few filaments – from 10 to 20 filaments up to 6k, and operates at about .15 meters per minute or .005kg per hour, as shown here (right) in this R&D system installed at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The scientific line size is ideal for precursor development and validation, as material property data can be obtained from small samples. It does not require cooling water or natural gas and uses low emissions so that volatiles can be safely vented to outdoors without abatement equipment.

Harper designs with the end in mind to help facilitate the transition to the next scale step while enabling research goals. Some examples include:

  • Individual zone temperatures that mimic larger scale ovens and furnace designs
  • Tensioning designed similar to production systems – adjust draw rate in between oven passes and in between furnaces, even with very small tow sizes
  • Ability to change air velocity in the oven for more flexibility in precursor chemistries to handle different exothermic reactions

For investment and technical configuration considerations, the system can also be designed with:

  • Single or multiple dip systems for surface treatment
  • Optional UHT furnace for investigation of high modulus fibers up to 2800°C
  • Configuration of control system for preferences regarding remote access and data historian
  • Material handling for emerging precursors including those requiring belt transport

Additionally, Harper offers testing facilities for its customers if needed prior to equipment investment to assist with scale up and process development, a unique solution that no other process line provider can offer.  Watch this video that brings to life the critical carbon fiber scale up path from small scientific research lines to full scale production.

More about Harper’s comprehensive technology offering in carbon fiber processing for all stages of commercialization:

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