UTSI Advanced Carbon Based Materials
The University of Tennessee Space Institute offers opportunities to participate in the advancement of low cost pitch based carbon fiber and the development of carbon based composite technologies.
In December 2004, the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) received pitch based carbon fiber technology R&D lab from ConocoPhillips, as a donation. UTSI has developed a plan to continue the research and further develop low cost carbon fiber production and application technologies. The pitch based carbon fiber development efforts have been under research and developments for more than 20 years by a number of different companies including Exxon, DuPont, Conoco, FICS and ConocoPhillips. The overall objective of this lab is to develop low cost carbon fiber for a variety of commercial applications.
Low cost carbon fiber could be in a position to provide enormous advantages to a number of technologies for current and future every day life, including a number of advanced technology applications that are not commercially feasible, now. Lightweight automobiles, buses, trains, aircraft, ships and applications including lightweight body panels and load bearing structures and many other transportation systems components, will result in weight savings and therefore result in major savings in the energy used by such systems. Other related technology areas such as rechargeable batteries, fuel cell electrodes, light weight paneling, advanced light weight general structures and fiber reinforced concrete and asphalt are just a few examples. A number of technologies that are currently using other synthetic fibers can use high strength lightweight and low cost carbon fibers to reduce weight, improve performance, and generate new applications that are of technical and commercial interest.