DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Scientists Are Making Carbon Fiber From Plants Instead of Petroleum

12th January 2018

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Carbon fiber is the Superman of materials. Five times stronger than steel and a fraction of the weight, it is used in everything from tennis racketsto golf clubs to bicycles to wind turbine blades to passenger airplanes to Formula One race cars. There’s just one catch: Carbon fiber is made from oil and other costly ingredients, making the end product exceptionally expensive. That’s why carbon fiber shows up in race cars but rarely makes it into minivans.

That could change. Scientists say it may soon be possible to make carbon fiber from plants instead of petroleum, driving down costs, making the material more widely available for use in cars, planes and other vehicles.

Carbon fiber is made from a chemical called acrylonitrile. Currently, producers make acrylonitrile from oil, ammonia, oxygen and an expensive catalyst. The process produces a lot of heat and yields a toxic byproduct. And, because acrylonitrile is made from petroleum, the cost of carbon fiber tends to rise and fall with the price of oil

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