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EERE Success Story: Plasma Oxidation of Carbon Fiber Precursor

With the potential to reduce the weight of vehicle components by up to 60%, carbon fiber composites is one of the most promising lightweight materials available to improve vehicle efficiency. However, its current inputs and manufacturing processes are expensive, severely limiting its use in most high-volume vehicle models. Fortunately, a new manufacturing technique based on research supported by the Vehicle Technologies Office may be able to cut the total cost by 20% while also using 75% less energy in the oxidation stage and producing carbon fiber three times faster than conventional ones.

This manufacturing technique, called plasma oxidation, stems from a research project with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and RMX Technologies that started in 2004.

 

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