High-strength carbon fiber targets auto applications

Toho Tenax Co., Ltd. (Tokyo), the core company of the Teijin Group's carbon fibers and composites business, has developed a new grade carbon fiber that achieves both high-strength and high-tensile modulus required for aircraft and automotive applications.

Toho Tenax is improved on the properties of its conventional carbon fiber offerings (pictured).

Toho Tenax developed Tenax XMS32 with a uniform structure by optimizing the structural design of the polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based precursor and by optimizing its manufacturing process. Compared to Tenax IMS65, the existing grade carbon fiber that has been mainly used for aircraft applications, Tenax XMS32 reportedly offers 10% greater strength (intensity) and 10% greater tensile modulus. In addition, resin adherence has been significantly improved through new surface-modification technology to refine the chemical characteristics of the carbon fiber's surface and control its smoothness on the nano level.

Carbon fiber used in aircraft, automotive, high-end sports and leisure applications must offer very high levels of stiffness, as well as improved intensity and tensile modulus. The trend toward the thin-walling of products causes problems with stiffness and tensile modulus properties. It had generally been difficult to realize both intensity and tensile modulus in PAN carbon fiber due to decreased strength resulting from increased tensile modulus.

Toho Tenax is developing prepreg using Tenax XMS32 for airplanes and expects to develop prepregs for automotive and high-end sports and leisure applications in the foreseeable future.

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