Improved Carbon Fibre Composite

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Abstract

The technology presented is a novel carbon  fibre  composite  structure  with a substantially reduced erosion rate when used on surfaces subjected to heating by high velocity particle flows. The innovation  relates  to  the  arrangement  of  the  sewing  and  web  fibres  while  maintaining the actual structure of the pitch/carbon fibres that make up the main heat  conducting  capability.  Such  an  improved  structure  reinforces  the  thermal  shielding capability of the components and reduces the erosion rate by 4 to 5 times compared to conventional carbon fibre composite material. The technology can be used  in  the  non-­‐fusion  domain  and  was  patented  by  the  inventor,  Dr.  Sergey  Peschany.

Description of the Technology

The  technology  is  related  to  an  improved  plate-­‐shaped  Carbon  Fibre  Composite  (CFC). Such material is used in general to protect facilities that would be damaged or even destroyed when directly exposed to heat caused by a particle flow. In order to protect such facilities, they are as a minimum shielded by CFC at the surface facing the  particle  flow.  The  technology  was  developed  for  use  in  the  nuclear  fusion  domain such as for Tokamak reactors. The diverters used in such facilities are exposed to thermo-­‐nuclear plasma enclosed by magnetic fields. If directly exposed without  proper  shielding,  such  diverters  could  not  be  operated  in  an  economical  manner. Therefore, they are shielded with CFC specifically developed for this purpose. The material can withstand a stationary heat flux of 10 – 20 MW/m² as well as  short  bursts  in  the  10  GW/m²  range.  Conventional  CFC  however  is  subject  to  substantial erosion causing brittle fractures. The erosion and subsequent risk of destruction  can  be  greatly  reduced  by  improvements  in  the  arrangement  of  the  sewing and web fibres. In particular the angle of the fibres with respect to the particle flux direction is optimized. Examples for use outside the fusion domain are space  reentry  vehicles  as  well  as  airplanes  operating  at  high  speed  through  thin  atmosphere layers. In addition, components that are operated in thick atmosphere with high velocities such as rotating blades could also benefit from the technology – in particular at the outer edge that is moving with highest velocity.

Innovation and advantages of the offer

The  innovation  of  this  technology  for  improved  plate-­‐shaped  Carbon  Fibre  Composite (CFC) lies in the orientation of the fibres with respect to the expected particle  flux  direction. While  maintaining  the  mechanical stability as well as the composition of materials involved in the  composite,  a  substantial erosion reduction  is  achieved  for a cost efficient use as a shielding material.

Non-fusion applications

Following  extensive  erosion simulation a well  as  test  campaigns  using  plasma  guns,  the  technology  has  successfully  been  developed but will not be used in ITER as carbon is not desirable in the facility. This technology  is  however  promising  for  application  in  plasma  machines.  Further application  areas  are  space  (reentry  vehicles,  weight  reduction  of  heat  ablative  and  reusable shields), test facilities outside the fusion domain but subject to high0 energy particle flows, aviation (high speed, high altitude), rotating blades (helicopters, wind energy converters, turbine engines).

Fusion Heritage

The innovative CFC material was developed at the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe that has  merged  with  the  University  of  Karlsruhe  to  become  the  Karlsruhe  Institute  of  Technology  (KIT).  It  was  successfully  tested  and  patented.  It  shows  superior performance, i.e. a substantially reduced erosion rate, when exposed to high0 energy particle flux. The invention is in the optimized orientation of the  fibres with respect to the particle flus direction. The components contained in the CFC material as such remain  unchanged.  Erosion  reduction  allows  for  a  cost  efficient  use  as  a  shielding  material in many applications outside the fusion domain  including space.

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