Sinopec Shanghai’s Carbon Fiber Breakthrough
Construction of a 48,000 full-tow carbon fiber project, a major breakthrough for Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co Ltd (SPC), began on Monday.
When completed, the 3.5 billion yuan (US $ 5.37 billion) project will produce 24,000 tons of carbon fiber precursors and 12,000 tons of 48k heavy-tow carbon fiber.
A cable is an untwisted bundle of continuous filaments, and China relied on imports, mainly from the United States and Japan, for its 48-karat coarse-bundle carbon fiber – bundles of 48,000 carbon fibers.
Carbon fiber is mainly used in aerospace, civil engineering, military and automotive, with advantages such as stiffness, tensile strength, low weight, high chemical resistance, tolerance to high temperatures and low thermal expansion.
The relative density of carbon fiber, for example, is about a quarter of that of steel, but its tensile strength is seven to nine times higher.
However, it is relatively expensive compared to similar fibers, such as glass or plastic, and its application is relatively limited.
Mass production of 48k big tow carbon fiber technology will reduce the cost of carbon fiber production and expand its application.
Sinopec Shanghai started its research on carbon fiber in 2007. By 2018, it had developed its first 48k carbon fiber. Last March, he decided on the current investment.
In 2018, the Chinese market consumed 31,000 tonnes of carbon fiber, or 32% more year on year and more than 70% was imported.
Sinopec Shanghai expects that by 2025, China will consume at least 50,000 tonnes, including 30,000 tonnes of carbon fiber.
Sinopec Shanghai in Jinshan District is a subsidiary of China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec Corp). Its main activity covers refined petroleum products, petrochemical intermediates, synthetic resins and synthetic fibers.