TECH Carbon fiber may be engineered into a battery: study

TECH

Carbon fiber may be engineered into a battery: study

Xinhua

17:40, February 03, 2019

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) - American researchers developed a kind of porous carbon fiber that may power cars using energy stored in their exterior shells.

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Spools of carbon fiber filaments are seen at Arevo Labs in Santa Clara, California, May 10, 2018. (File Photo: VCG)

The study published in this week's Science Advances reported the way of creating carbon fibers that wouldn't only be structurally useful, but also functionally useful.

Carbon fibers, the thin hair-like strands of carbon, are widely used in the aerospace and automotive industries.

Liu Guoliang, a professor at Virginia Tech who led the study, said the carbon fibers could be designed to have tiny holes uniformly scattered throughout, similar to a sponge, that would store ions of energy.

Liu's team developed a process to make porous carbon fibers with uniform size and spacing for the first time.

Previously, chemists mixed two kind of polymers separately into a solution, resulting porous carbon fibers but with differently sized and spaced pores, making the energy storage difficult.

Liu bonded the two polymers into a block copolymer. "This is the first time we utilize block copolymers to make carbon fibers and the first time to use block copolymer-based porous carbon fibers in energy storage," Liu said.

The modified carbon fibers can be used to make car shells while store energy like a battery in the future, according to the researchers.

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