Date : 12-11-29 14:06
'Super fiber' of dream
 Name : 관리자
Hit : 2,907  
'Super fiber' of dream
High-tech, higher value-added
2nd leap in synthetic fiber
article; 2012.07.31

How is 'superman's manteau' bulletproof and fireproof? Why ' Batman's suit' does not catch fire?
 In the movie 'Superman', the superman stops bullets with his manteau wrapped around him. It worked like a bulletproof vest. And he protected himself even in fury flames with it. Sometimes it got caught on fire, but couple of times of rolling on the ground made the fire extinguished.
 We thought it possible  only in a movie scene that thin manteau resists bullets and protects the man from fire. But in reality, it became possible by developing fibers of high strength and heat resistance, so called 'super fiber'.
 This manteau can be made of para aramid fiber which has super strength and heat resistance. It is flexible but so elastic that it can resist bullets by being pushed and recovered. It is much more elastic than previous polyester five to ten times.
 Batman's suit has the secret of heat resistant meta aramid fiber. It is high heat and flame resistant, withstands 400°C, extinguishes itself very shortly even after it is flamed because of its high resistance. This is why it is the best material to protect firemen from fire.
 World demand of long para aramid filament fiber is 50000 ton a year. Du Pont, an American company, and Teijin a Japanese, supply 90% of it. Kolon and Hyosung in Korea make it domestically. As it is known widely, 'Du Pont Sued Kolon for stealing para aramid technology. But Kolon has produced para aramid fiber since 2005. It produces 5000 ton a year. Hyosung produces 1000 ton a year from the factory built in 2009.
Hubis and Woongjin Chemical, competible in short meta aramid fiber field took part in, but are in the beginning stage. World production of meta aramid is about 35000 ton in 2011. Du Pont is the dominant that produced 70% of it. Presently Hubis is capable of producing 1000 ton, Woongjin 450 ton level. Hubis  that has the first commercial line in the country is planning to increase its production to 3000 ton in 2013, 5000 ton by 2016, according to the market demand.
Carbon fiber realm is the battle field where synthetic fiber companies are fighting for pre-possession of the market. Carbon fiber, called 'dream material', is born through oxidation process ; acrylic fiber is heated from between 1000 to 3000°C. Oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen molecules are eliminated In this process. Previous acrylic fiber becomes much more elastic and stronger, lighter than aluminum.
 Carbon fiber is used lately more and more in the fields of aerospace, sport and leisure, energy, auto, electronics, construction etc. Toray, a Japanese leader in world carbon fiber market, contracted with US Boeing to supply carbon fiber for new Boeing B787 till 2021.
 Carbon fiber is noticed for auto making material. It needs one fourth in weight of steel used in auto body, but stronger more than 10 times. 10% reduction of a car weight increases fuel economy by 6%. It also reduces carbon-dioxide, so carbon fiber is considered as an alternative in high fuel price era.
 Carbon fiber market of the world is dominated by Japanese companies, such as Toray. Taekwang started to produce carbon fiber commercially last March, but stopped production after eight days because of the  fire in the factory. However Toray Korea plans to produce from next year 2200t a year.
 Hyosung started to build a new carbon fiber factory in Jeonju-si of Jeonraboogdo in first quarter this year. It plans to invest 250 billion won for a 2000t scale factory by 2013, 1200 billion won for 17000t factory by 2020.
 Super strong PE fiber is not noticed so much relatively compared to aramid or carbon fiber, but maximum 10 times stronger than steel, high chemical resistant and lighter. So it can be widely used in bulletproof helmet, anti-bullet material for airplanes and helicopters, medical instruments and threads, interior structural material for cars, ships and airplanes. Especially it seems to be the first choice for marine structure.
 Dong Yang started to produce 100t a year in 2009 domestically. TK Chemical produces UHMPE since last year in Gumi factory. Its production scale was 250t a year in the beginning, but it plans to increase the production to 1500t a year for the next 5 years.
Source : MK News (Jang J W  reporter)
        Article 2012. 07. 31