SBIR Phase I: Improved Manufacturing Method for Carbon Nanofiber Production

Period of Performance: 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

NGJ LLC
411 Wolf Ledges Parkway
Akron, OH 44311
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will investigate the effectiveness of forming novel carbon nanofibers by a gas jet process (NGJ) and confirm performance benefits as these nanofibers are incorporated into polymer systems. Carbon fibers of various diameters enhance a broad range of materials and products to increase the strength-to-weight ratio and improve thermal and electrical properties of composite structures. However, a substantial gap in available fiber diameters exists between the largest nanofiber (100 nm) and the smallest microfiber (3000 nm). A similar gap exists in the aspect ratio of the fibers. Laboratory demonstrations have shown the NGJ process produces fibers that fill these gaps. The objectives of this project are to develop the equipment and procedures that demonstrate the high volume and low cost advantages of NGJ nanofibers reproducibly in important applications. This project consists of 1) design and fabrication of pilot scale equipment, 2) production and characterization of nanofibers, 3) preparation of composite samples, and 4) comparison of composites reinforced with NJG nanofibers to those reinforced with commercially available nanofibers. The results of this research will prove the advantages of the NGJ nanofibers and their commercial viability. Completion of this project will provide an understanding of the impact of larger diameter, higher aspect ratio carbon nanofibers on composite polymer performance.