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Passenger aircraft need to be much lighter than they are today in order to be powered by electricity. A reduction in weight is also very important for vehicles in order to extend the driving distance per battery charge.
Leif Asp, Professor of Material and Computational Mechanics at Chalmers University of Technology, conducts research into the ability of carbon fibres to perform more tasks than simply to act as a reinforcing material. They can store energy, for example.
Car - Body - Element - Act - Battery
"A car body would then be not simply a load-bearing element, but also act as a battery," he says. "It will also be possible to use the carbon fibre for other purposes such as harvesting kinetic energy, for sensors or for conductors of both energy and data. If all these functions were part of a car or aircraft body, this could reduce the weight by up to 50 percent."
Asp headed up a multidisciplinary group of researchers who recently published a study on how the microstructure of carbon fibres affects their electrochemical properties -- that is, their ability to operate as electrodes in a lithium-ion battery. So far this has been an unexplored research field.
Researchers - Microstructure - Types - Carbon - Fibres
The researchers studied the microstructure of different types of commercially available carbon fibres. They discovered that carbon fibres with small and poorly oriented crystals have good electrochemical properties but a lower stiffness in relative terms. If you compare this with carbon fibres that have large, highly oriented crystals, they have greater stiffness, but the electrochemical properties are too low for use...
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