New Harper, ORNL project to focus on carbon fiber production equipment

The project includes analysis of critical processing factors, such as temperature, gas flow and chemical reaction, in carbon fiber production equipment.

Harper International (Buffalo, New York) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL, Knoxville, Tenn.) have been awarded funding for a project through the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office’s HPC4Mfg Program. The program was designed to spur the use of high performance supercomputers to advance U.S. manufacturing via public-private partnerships.

Specifically, the Harper International/ORNL project, titled “Development and Validation of Simulation Capability for the High Capacity Production Carbon Fiber,” will focus on analysis of critical processing factors, such as temperature, gas flow and chemical reaction, in carbon fiber production equipment. The purpose is to ensure designs provide the necessary uniformity to produce fiber of a certain quality, output and cost ideal for automotive applications. Results will then be validated at the pilot scale equipment designed and installed by Harper at ORNL’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility, followed by testing in a commercial production facility.

“This project allows Harper to continue its work as a champion of innovative carbon fiber processing technologies to meet the needs of future markets, such as mass automotive applications, now with access to world-class supercomputers and deeper scientific expertise,” says Prasad Apte, director of technology at Harper International. “We are proud to be collaborating with the pioneering thought leaders at ORNL in continuation of our strong relationship.” 

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