SBIR Phase II: Advanced Polymer Matrix Composites Based on Nanofiber Fused Microfiber Architecture

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

$516K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Performance Polymer Solutions, Inc.
2711 Lance Drive
Moraine, OH 45409
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will develop and characterize a novel class of polymer matrix composite materials using a continuous NanoFiber Fused-Microfiber (Nf2-M) reinforcement technology. This patented approach, carbon nanofibers are grown in a continuous manner directly from the surface of continuous filaments (introduced in tow form) in a continuous, easily scaled process. Unlike traditional approaches which involve difficult mixing operations to introduce carbon nanofibers into the matrix resin at very low loading levels and with questionable dispersion, this approach produces continuous three-dimensional reinforcement networks which are easily incorporated into composites using standard fabrication techniques, including filament winding and prepreg wet lay-up processes. No additional or modified composite fabrication steps are needed. This technology has enormous potential for a multitude of commercial applications. The broader/commercial impact of this project are threefold: 1) providing a foundation for a new technology in materials science research; 2) utilizing the fundamental findings to develop and engineer enabling materials to meet growing needs in industry for current and future applications; and 3) providing a low cost, commercially available, high performance carbon fiber reinforcement technology that has the potential to change the face of the composite materials industry. Global market forecast for reinforcing carbon fibers is ~$12.2 billion annually by 2011, and the approach of this project can take advantage of the multitude of existing markets, such as sporting goods, electronics, consumer products, commercial aerospace and automotive industries.