Active Projects

Completed Projects 12
Projects in Process 30
Projects in Review 10
Project total as of Sept 4, 2019

Project Final Report: 5.3 Optimized Resins and Sizings for Vinyl Ester/Carbon Fiber Composites

Project Final Report: 3.4 Thermoplastic Composites Parts Manufacturing Enabling High Volumes, Low Cost, Reduced Weight with Design Flexibility – Phase 1

Project Final Report: 6.20 Closing the Loop on Automotive Carbon Fiber Prepreg Manufacturing Scrap

Project Final Report: 3.6 Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) Materials Development and Reinforcement with Advanced Composites

Project Final Report: 3.3 Rapid Carbon Fiber Prepreg Molding Technology for Automobile Structural Parts

Project TitleProject LeadProject ParticipantsApproach
3.15 Carbon fiber Reinforced Polyolefin Body PanelsFordMichigan State University (MSU)
3.9 High Speed Layup and Forming of Automotive Composite ComponentsDuraBASF, Michigan State University, Purdue UniversityThis Enterprise Project is focused on the design and build of a rear package shelf that meets strength and torsional requirements, maximizes material usage at a cost of $6.60-$11.00 per kilogram saved, and trains industry representatives to work with composite materials.
3.7 Reduction of CO2 Emissions Through Lightweight Body PanelsVolkswagen Group of AmericaOak Ridge National Laboratory, Purdue University, Michigan State University, University of TennesseeThe overall project goal is the development of a composite lift gate for volumes greater than 100.000 vehicles per year with manufacturing cycle times less than 300s. The high volume composite manufacturing is including 25% cost and weight reduction as well as 25% energy saving of embodied, composite technology.
3.2 Optimized Carbon Fiber Production to Enable High Volume Manufacturing of Lightweight Automotive ComponentsFord Motor CompanyDowAksa USA, Purdue University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Vanderbilt University, Michigan State University, State of Kentucky, University of TennesseeOEM-Material Supplier-Tier 1 joint development of supply chain to develop, integrate and application-optimize carbon fibers, resin, composite intermediates, molding methods, automation, modeling, and waste reduction.
3.12 Development of Large Scale Extrusion Deposition for Structural ApplicationsLocal MotorsLockheed Martin, Cincinnati Inc., Techmer PM, ORNL, Purdue, Vanderbilt, UTK
3.16 Dimensional Stability of Low-Cost Thermoplastic Composite MoldsESI North AmericaMichigan State University
4.6 Techno-Economic Wind Blade Manufacturing Model to Identify Opportunities for Cost ImprovementsUMass LowellJanicki Industries, TPI Composites, GE, NREL
To advance the state-of-the-art of composite wind blade manufacturing, there is a need for high-fidelity techno-economic (TE) and manufacturing floor simulation models of the overall blade-making process to assist in identifying opportunities to reduce the cost of wind blades.
4.5 Vertical Axis Wind Turbine with Thermoplastic Composite BladesSteelheadArkema, Colorado State University, NREL
Emphasis will be placed on techno-economic analysis of these small wind turbines, the structural design optimization using composite properties, computational simulations to determine potential power harvesting capability and process optimization of composites using thermoplastic resins.
4.3 Thermoplastic Thermal Welding ArkemaNEG, Saertex, GE, TPI, UTK, NREL
With the use of thermoplastic resin systems in the production of wind blades enables these use of thermal welding as a method in which blade components are joined in the factory – and potentially in the field.
4.2 Thermoplastic Composite Development for Wind Turbine Blades
Read Press Release
TPI CorporationColorado School of Mines, Arkema, Johns Manville, Purdue University, National Renewal Energy Laboratory (NREL), Vanderbilt University, University of TennesseeDevelopment of thermoplastic materials to lower production costs and improve recyclability of wind turbine blades and applicability to components demonstrated at large scale.
5.7 Tailored Fiber Placement for Complex Preforms AirbusLockheed Martin Corporation, UDRI, MSU
5.5 Hybrid Additively Manufactured Tooling for Large Composite StructuresAirbusATK Space Systems, Cincinnati Inc., Additive Engineering Solutions, Inc., UDRI, Purdue University
5.4 Injection Overmolding of Continuous Fiber Preforms AirbusUDRI, Zoltek, Harmony Systems and Service, HyComp LLC
6.4 Controlled Pyrolysis: A robust, scalable composite recycling technology Read Press Release ACMAContinental Structural Plastics, CHZ Technologies, A. Schulman, ORNLThe project provides unique advantages to the storage of compressed natural gas through the use of thermoplastic composite technologies to achieve better durability, weight reduction and recyclability.
6.5 Development of rCF thermoplastic non-woven prepreg for automotive class A body panels via compression molding Read Press Release BASFOak Ridge National Laboratory, University of TennesseeThe goal of this technical collaboration is to develop processing and material technologies that provide automotive Class A surface appearance and suitable mechanical properties for automotive body panels by utilizing a thermoplastic resin matrix reinforced with discontinuous recycled carbon fiber.
6.6 Development of a lower cost, high-volume, commercially available precursor for lower cost carbon fiber and automotive and wind blade applicationsDralonOak Ridge National Laboratory, University of TennesseeThe findings from the project will enable industry to reduce textile carbon fiber production cost and embodied energy while increasing the range of textile and industrial precursor fiber sourcing options and product forms.
6.7 Carbon fiber pre-preg recycling - automated preform manufacturing equipmentComposite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC)Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt UniversityThis Enterprise Project is focused on the design and development of a new combination automated chop, collate, and placement machine system that can address the unique challenges of repurposing carbon epoxy prepreg. The
scrap pre-preg that is currently generated comes in many forms that are not suitable to today’s sheet molding compound (SMC) machines. In order to create a viable and useful feedstock out of the scrap materials, the project will develop equipment and technology to enable the highly variable scrap remnants to re-enter production.
6.8 Bamboo Bio-composite Truck/Trailer DeckingResource FiberOak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Tennessee, Michigan State UniversityThe project begins by designing and developing bamboo bio-composite decking, and then evaluating the performance parameters including density, shrinkage, mechanical properties, and nail pull-out. Finally, the project will include fabricating the decking – including luminescent functionality – and evaluating the composite product.
6.9 Multiple Process ToolingValley GeminiOak Ridge National Laboratory, University of TennesseeThe goal of this Technical Collaboration project is to produce a tool design which will be agile enough to allow
its use in multiple processes: injection, injection compression, and extrusion-compression. The material forms
used will include long and short fiber thermoplastics (LFT and SFT), tapes, preforms, sheet and bulk molding
compounds (SMC, BMC), and material combinations. This tool design will allow for the manufacture of
components with the most efficient process or materials, without needing to build multiple single process tools.
6.11 Discontinuous Aligned Carbon Fiber Intermediates for Automotive and Related ApplicationsNeenahOak Ridge National Laboratory, University of TennesseeThe specific objective of this Technical Collaboration project is to produce a wet-laid nonwoven carbon fiber mat with a high degree of unidirectional fiber alignment, using discontinuous carbon fibers.
6.12 Textile Carbon Fiber Packaging and Non-Crimp Fabric ProductionMcCoy MachineryChomarat, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of TennesseeOne of the remaining barriers to commercial deployment of textile carbon fibers is the current lack of capability to package these textile carbon fibers so that they can be efficiently and reliably used for producing composite intermediates or composite structures. This Technical Collaboration Project is focused on packaging
large tow (≥ 10 grams/meter) textile carbon fibers, for which there is currently no suitable method.
6.13 Low Cost, High Volume, Carbon Fiber Precursor for Plasma OxidationRMX TechnologiesOak Ridge National Laboratory, University of TennesseeThe goal of this Technical Collaboration Project is to optimize plasma-based oxidative stabilization processing followed by conventional carbonization to achieve carbon fiber with a nominal tensile strength of 550 ksi and a tensile modulus of 35 Msi for textile-based PAN precursor fibers. This project will enable a significant reduction in carbon fiber manufacturing cost through the combination of a low-cost textile grade precursor with the performance advantages and cost savings of plasma oxidation to produce an automotive grade low cost carbon fiber.
6.14 Smart Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels (SCOPV) with Integrated Health MonitoringSteelhead CompositesToho Tenax America, The University of Tennessee, ORNLTo validate the effectiveness of the embedded sensors and successful integration during the fabrication process for a pressure vessel designed for 350 bar H2 storage. An extension of the program will use similar vessel dimension as a starting point and extend the embedded sensor and remote sensing technology towards a H2 storage vessel optimized for 700 bar, with the aim of reducing the mass of carbon fiber usage and hence the cost of the vessel.
6.18 Preparation of Mesophase Pitch Feedstock for Carbon FiberAdvanced Carbon Products, LLCUniversity of Kentucky Research Foundation
6.20 Closing the Loop on Automotive Carbon Fiber Prepreg Manufacturing Scrap
Read Press Release
VartegaFord Research, Michelman, CSM, Plasan, BASF, ORNL, UT, UDRIWith the inclusion of industry and research partners, this project will span a full supply chain: recovery of fiber from carbon fiber prepreg, surface treatment of recovered fibers, material characterization, compounding, and injection molding/part creation. This project will evaluate application efficacy of sizing discontinuous carbon fiber, investigate fiber format and feeding in twin screw compounding extruders, characterize mechanical properties, and evaluate the thermoplastic composite mechanical properties for automotive applications. The project scales up from lab, through intermediate, and commercial scale while validating consistency at each stage.
6.21 Development of Automotive Grade Carbon Fiber Composite Performance Standards to Reduce Costs and Drive Mainstream, High Volume Vehicle Production with CFRPACCPlasan, ORNl, UT, UDRIThe first stage will result in a definition of technology gaps that exist in performance specifications and in the methods by which material properties are measured to meet those specifications. It will also result in a definition of what gaps exist in the application of that data in computational design models. The second stage will concentrate on overcoming those specification, data and data use gaps. The project will also result in developing a material data base template and eventually a data base by which material performance properties can be entered. These four categories will be addressed in a series of workshops and meetings with automotive OEMs, Tier I suppliers and material suppliers. After defining what is needed in each of these four areas, the team will then work with the OEM and supply community to define the technology gaps that exist in each of those four categories.
6.26 Low-Cost Basalt Fiber for Automotive Applications MichelmanMafic USA, Volkswagen, UDRI, UTKMafic is a market leader in the development of basalt fiber and its technology can be an enabler in cost effectively light weighting automotive parts. Sizing chemistry appears to be a key barrier to achieving similar results with vinyl ester, as has been shown in epoxy systems. As Michelman is a global leader in the development of fiber sizing, we believe we are in a unique position to help improve the performance of basalt fiber in these polymeric systems.
7.2 Thermal Instability in the Manufacturing of Wind Turbine Blade Spar CapsTPI CompositesPurdue UniversityThe creation of a multi-physics model to successfully simulate the infusion, heat transfer, reaction kinetics, rheological advancement and thermos-mechanics of the composite blade structure during fabrication will have a meaningful impact on all aspects of blade manufacturing.
7.3 Characterization of Kevlar®-reinforced composites for predictive simulation DuPontPurdue UniversityWork in this project is intended to focus on the effort to increase the safety of carbon fiber reinforced polymer-centric vehicles by mitigating the brittle mode of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) failure through hybridization with Kevlar®
7.7 Materials Development and Advanced Process Simulation for Additive Manufacturing (AM) with Fiber-Reinforced ThermoplasticsDuPontLocal Motors, Purdue UniversityScreen one candidate against three criteria. Printability using extrusion AM processes. Suitability for vehicle applications based on coupon screening tests.
Predictive capability of process simulations.

Completed Projects

Project TitleProject LeadProject ParticipantsApproach
3.11 Thermoplastic Composites Part Manufacturing Enabling High Volumes, Low Cost, Reduced Weight with Design FlexibilityDuPontFibrtec, Purdue UniversityThis program focuses on composites for structural applications that require high production rates, those suitable for the automotive industry, and as such use thermoplastic systems.
3.3 Rapid Carbon Fiber Prepreg Molding Technology for Automobile Structural PartsTorayZoltek, Reichold, Janicki, Globe Machine Manufacturing, CRTC, ACMA, Michigan State UniversityA supply-chain centric (ecosystem based) approach that integrates material selection, molding methods, preform design patterns, together with waste stream utilization will decrease costs and cycle times.
3.4 Thermoplastic Composites Part Manufacturing Enabling High Volumes, Low Cost, Reduced Weight with Design FlexibilityDuPontPurdue UniversityNovel materials and processes that enable flexible prepregs combined with Rapid Fabric Formation technology to provide customizable fiber orientations and selective thermal bonding to significantly improve drape and fabric control, while reducing cycle time, waste, and overall cost.
3.5 Enabling Composite Processing through the OEM Assembly LinePPGMichigan State UniversityDevelop and demonstrate adhesives and e-coat that meet OEM specification when processed at temperatures compatible with low-cost composites.
3.6 BAAM Materials Development and Reiforcement with Advanced CompositesLocal MotorsORNL, University of TennesseeIntegrated design and materials selection, together with novel, low-cost reinforcing techniques will be used to optimize components for vehicle application.
3.8 Development of NDE/NDT tools for high-volume, high-speed inspection of CFRP structures in automotive manufacturingAmerican Chemistry CouncilPlasan, Vanderbilt University
Standard evaluation metrics provide a means to evaluate and rank NDE/NDT methodologies and testing systems for further prove-out in the production line.
5.6 Scale-Up of Next Generation Nano-Enhanced Composite Materials for Longer-Lasting Consumer GoodsN12UDRI
5.2 Thermoplastic Composite Compressed Gas Storage (CGS) Tanks
Read Press Release
DuPontSteelhead Composites LLC, University of Dayton Research Institute, Composites Prototyping CenterEvaluation and selection of polyamide resins which meet flammability requirements for CGS tanks. Utilizing the resin and continuous heavy carbon fiber tows to make impregnated tapes through a pultrusion process; tank manufacturing by a novel automated tape laydown process.
5.3 Optimized Resins and Sizings for Vinyl Ester/Carbon Fiber CompositesINEOS CompositesMichelman, Zoltek, UDRI, MSU
6.2 Reclaimed Carbon Fiber Reinforced Automotive Part using 3-DEP preforms and preform tooling using reclaimed carbon fiber and MDF’s Additive Manufacturing ProcessMITORNL, UTK
6.4 Thermolyzer: A Robust, Scalable Composite Recycling TechnologyACMACHZ Technologies/KUG, Continental Structural Plastics, A. Schulman, ORNL, UTK
The Thermolyzer uses a low-heat pyrolysis method to recover valuable materials from dedicated or mixed stream composite waste.
7.4 Performance Prediction for Non-standard Non-Crimped Fabrics ChomaratPurdue University