patent number 5334414
The present invention is directed to a process for coating carbon fibers with a pitch material. The process employs a pressurized air-comb for spreading a carbon fiber tow into individual carbon fiber filaments and providing the carbon fiber filaments in a spreaded tow to a powder deposition chamber. A pitch material is dried and finely ground and is then fed into the coating chamber at a point above the traveling spreaded carbon fiber tow. The pitch powder initially falls onto the fiber tow and begins forming a uniform coating around the individual carbon fibers. After falling past the point of the traveling carbon tow, the pitch powder is then recirculated back to the upper portion of the coating chamber and is entrained within a pitch powder cloud through which the threaded fiber tow travels. Fibers that are coated by such a method may be used to form carbon/carbon composites that exhibit high strength and excellent mechanical properties. The carbon fibers that are coated according to the present invention do not require the repeated multi-impregnation steps normally associated with carbon/carbon composite formation.
Clemson University (Clemson, SC)