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Low Cost Carbon Fiber Composites for Lightweight Vehicle Parts

Award Information

Agency:
Department of Energy
Branch:
N/A
Award ID:
72361
Program Year/Program:
2006 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
78845S05-I
Solicitation Year:
N/A
Solicitation Topic Code:
N/A
Solicitation Number:
N/A
Small Business Information
MATERIALS INNOVATION TECHNOLOGIES, LLC
320 Rutledge Road Fletcher, NC -
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
 
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2006
Title: Low Cost Carbon Fiber Composites for Lightweight Vehicle Parts
Agency: DOE
Contract: DE-FG02-05ER84327
Award Amount: $750,000.00
 

Abstract:

The U.S. could significantly reduce oil consumption by decreasing the weight of its automobile fleet, especially by using lightweight carbon composite materials. However, lightweight materials in automobile structures have been problematic for two reasons: (1) the high cost of carbon fiber materials themselves, and (2) the high processing costs of these materials. Although programs exist to reduce the cost of carbon fibers (from $12-$14/pound today to $5-$7/pound in the near future), current manufacturing processes are neither fast nor cost-effective enough to meet the demands of high volume production. This project will develop an innovative, high-volume molding process for complex-shaped carbon-fiber performs, which will allow cost effective carbon composite components to be incorporated into commercial passenger vehicles. In Phase I, a carbon fiber slurry was developed and molded into an automotive complex shape (B-pillar). It was indicated that controlled fiber orientation could be achieved in cycle times of seconds ¿ not minutes or hours as with conventional preforming techniques. (Control of fiber orientation is critical because it provides an ability to customize the design of the preform to meet end use characteristics and specifications.) Phase II will fully develop the carbon slurry, along with innovative tooling gimbal molding equipment for a pilot plant. The pilot plant process will be optimized, and cost models will be validated for an actual automotive component. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new composite molding process should enable manufacturers in the automobile and aerospace industries to use lightweight, high performance carbon composite structures without the time and cost problems that plague other manufacturing technologies

Principal Investigator:

Neal Baitcher
Mr.
2604909304
nbaitcher@aptllc.com

Business Contact:

James E. Stike
Mr.
8286981330
jstike@mchsi.com
Small Business Information at Submission:

Materials Innovation Technologies
1529 Greenville Highway Hendersonville, NC 28792

EIN/Tax ID:
DUNS: N/A
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No