Toray develops a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) for advanced aerospace applications

The company leveraged materials informatics technology to swiftly achieve exceptional flame retardance and mechanical performance for this material. The company will push forward with demonstration testing to broaden CFRP applications and demand to encompass aircraft, automobiles, and general industrial usage.

Toray develops a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) for advanced aerospace applications

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CFRP is reliable because it delivers a high specific strength and specific modulus of elasticity and offers excellent fatigue and environmental resistance. Aerospace applications are ex-panding.

Although mechanically superior to metals, CFRP does have some functional drawbacks. They include flame retardance and electrical conductivity. Additional materials and pro-cesses are accordingly necessary to cover that shortfall. Improving fire resistance is partic-ularly desirable. The challenge has been that engineering and optimizing different flame retardance and mechanical properties entails huge amount of experimental data. It has accordingly been hard to slash development lead times.

As a part of its digital transformation initiatives, which draw on data and digital technolo-gies to become more competitive, Toray deployed materials informatics in CFRP engineer-ing and established a technology to develop materials swiftly by harnessing inverse prob-lem analysis to refine materials designs based on the properties required. 

The company used a self-organizing map deployed in joint research with Tohoku University as a tool for this analysis. It was thus able from a handful of experi-ments to identify suitable combinations from a range of materials groups to achieve the desired properties and develop a material that is flame-retardant and offers the right me-chanical properties, successfully engineering a matrix resin for CFRP and quickly develop a prepreg (the intermediate material of CFRP) 

The prepreg provides the equivalent compressive strength, heat resistance, and other me-chanical properties as current aerospace materials. At the same time, it delivers a 35% lower heat release rate, which is the rate of heat generated from fire, than those materials. Toray plans to additionally apply inverse problem analysis to thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, and other elements to help engineer highly functional prepreg that diversify-ing needs in aircraft, automobile, and general industrial usage components.

Some of Toray’s progress through this development effort was as part of “Materials Inte-gration” for Revolutionary Design System of Structual Materials under the Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program(SIP) of the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation(CSTI)of the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, which the Japan Science and Technology Agency oversees. 

Toray will keep cultivating advanced materials and innovative technologies in line with its corporate philosophy of contributing to society by creating new value while attaining sus-tainable growth.

More information www.toray.com