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Scalable Production of Carbon-Based Composites from Sequestered Environmental Carbon

Description:

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Trusted AI and Autonomy OBJECTIVE: Develop a low-cost, energy efficient synthetic approach to producing carbon-based composites from environmental carbon resources. DESCRIPTION: The objective of this STTR topic is to develop a low-cost, low-energy synthetic approach to producing carbonaceous materials to be used in carbon-based composites to advance defense materials for the warfighter. These materials include carbon fibers, carbon nanotubes, carbon nanofibers, graphene, and graphite. Carbonaceous materials are typically used as fillers in polymer-matrix composites and ceramic-matrix composites. There is growing interest in utilization in Li-ion batteries, capacitors, and high strength building materials. The proposed synthetic process will reduce the complexity and cost associated with utilizing environmental carbon resources to synthesis the carbonaceous material while maximizing yield and purity. PHASE I: Define the specific carbonaceous material to be synthesized, utilizing environmental CO2. Define, develop, and perform initial laboratory assessment of the proposed synthetic process to validate the technical feasibility of the approach to producing the carbonaceous material. Perform analysis of the material and determine initial yield and purity. PHASE II: Based on findings in Phase I, define and develop a concept to produce kilogram-scale quantities of carbonaceous material. Produce selected materials and determine the physical characteristics (size and shape) along with strength, thermal and electrical conductivities, impurities, and yield as a function of changes in synthetic conditions. From the analysis and characterization, determine the appropriate steps to maximize CO2 usage, minimize energy, and costs associated with the approach. Identify Navy operational platform applications that are likely to benefit the most from this technology. Conduct a demonstration of the process and technology. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Identify opportunities where carbonaceous materials can be utilized from an installations / building materials perspective that could benefit Naval and commercial facilities. Provide a cost-benefit analysis to show effects of utilizing CO2 on cost and production of material. REFERENCES: 1. Recent applications of carbon-based composites in defence industry:A review, Defence Technology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dt.2022.03.006 2. Department of the Navy Climate Action 2030, 24 May 2022, https://www.navy.mil/Portals/1/Documents/Department%20of%20the%20Navy%20Climate%20Action%202030.pdf KEYWORDS: carbon-based composites; carbon fibers; carbon nanotubes; carbon nanofibers; graphene; graphite; synthesis
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