All-lignin carbon fibre composites
Purpose and goal
The project aims at using the forest by-product lignin to produce 100% bio-based carbon fibre composites by using lignin from pulp mills as raw material for both the carbon fibre and the polymer matrix. This would reduce the carbon footprint of this class of products considerably. Today, carbon fibre composites are produced from petroleum raw material; polyacrylonitrile is the raw material for carbon fibre, while the matrix polymer usually consists of epoxy or polyester. A successful project could help the Swedish forest industry to increase the value of an abundant by-product.
Expected results and effects
The project plans to produce the first ever all-lignin based carbon fibre composite material. Such a material would be economically competitive and reduce the carbon footprint of this class of products considerably, since the production today is fossil-based. As a long-term consequence, the introduction of lower-cost medium-quality carbon fibre in large enough volumes on the market would open up for new energy-saving applications such as less fuel-consuming cars (lighter vehicle), as targeted in this application, and more efficient wind power production (larger wing diameter).
Planned approach and implementation
The first ever all-lignin based carbon fibre composite material will be produced. The performance of the new material will be assessed in terms of basic mechanical and physical properties. Future performance will be evaluated based on estimated future improvements of the matrix and fibres. Finally, the measured and estimated future properties will be used to evaluate potential application areas for this kind of material: in which applications could it compete with other material systems in the future.