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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L017679/1
Title: Manufacturing of High Performance Cellulose Fibres to Replace Glass fibres & Carbon Fibre Precursors
Principal Investigator: Eichhorn, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Bismarck, Professor A Welton, Professor T Rahatekar, Dr SS
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Aberystwyth University Centre for Process Innovation CPI (UK) Composites Evolution Ltd
Haydale Limited Institute for Textile Chemistry & Chemic National Composites Centre
National Institute of Standards and Tech SHD Composites University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Valueform Limited
Department: Aerospace Engineering
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2014 Ends: 23 December 2020 Value (£): 2,060,466
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Manufact. Enterprise Ops& Mgmt Manufacturing Machine & Plant
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 Oct 2013 Materials Substitution - Interview Meeting Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
To reduce society's dependence on petroleum based non-renewable polymers, large scale utilization of naturally occurring, abundantly available polymers such as cellulose needs to be developed. One of the major challenges in large scale utilization of cellulose from biomass is dissolution and processing of cellulose to prepare downstream products such as high performance textile fibres. The Viscose method is the most common way to manufacture cellulose fibres; however, it is a complex, multistep process which involves use of very aggressive chemicals and requires a large volume of fresh water. In the 1970s, petroleum based synthetic polymer fibres such as polyester and nylon were commercialised and were proven to be more economical than producing cellulose fibres via the Viscose method. Hence, the production of cellulose fibres was reduced from over 1.3 million tons per year in 1973 to 0.4 million tons per year by 2008 (Source: International Rayon and Synthetic Fibres Committee).

To overcome this issue of processing of cellulose we are proposing to develop an environmentally benign method of manufacturing of high performance cellulose fibres using "Green Solvents". The proposed research will help develop sustainable and high performance cellulose fibres which can in-principle replace heavy glass fibres (which requires high energy during its manufacturing) and non-renewable polymer precursors used for manufacturing of carbon fibres which are widely used in composites for aerospace, auto, sports and wind energy industries in UK and abroad.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk