Research institute partners with DACC Carbon to localize ceramic fibers

By Lim Chang-won Posted : April 7, 2020, 17:32 Updated : April 7, 2020, 17:51

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- In an effort to reduce South Korea's dependence on foreign key materials, a research institute joined hands with DACC Carbon, the producer of raw materials and components, to localize ceramic fibers and composite materials used by aviation and defense industries. The Asia Pacific ceramic fiber market is dominated by China and Japan.

Ceramic fibers are generally employed in high-temperature applications instead of metals due to their high thermal tolerance and corrosion resistance. Ceramic-fiber-reinforced composites are utilized in many products such as aircraft engine components, automotive and gas turbine elements, aerospace missiles, heat exchangers, hot gas filters, rocket nozzles, gasket, and wrapping insulations.

The Korea Institute of Carbon Convergence Technology, based in the southern city of Jeonju, said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with DACC Carbon, which produces carbon composites, for joint research and development of ultra-high temperature ceramic fibers and composite materials.

The institute will transfer advanced equipment and technologies for DACC Carbon to push for the localization of ceramic fibers and develop high-performance preform technology. They would establish a joint enterprise and participate in state technology development projects. DACC Carbon aims to develop and commercialize ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) for use in space, aviation and defense sectors.

CMCs consist of ceramic fibers embedded in a ceramic matrix. CMC materials overcome the major disadvantages of conventional technical ceramics, namely brittle failure and low fracture toughness, and limited thermal shock resistance. Their applications are in fields requiring reliability at high-temperatures and resistance to corrosion and wear.

CMCs can be used for heat shield systems for space vehicles, components for high-temperature gas turbines, brake disks and brake system components and components for slide bearings under heavy loads requiring high corrosion and wear resistance.

Carbon fiber has become the focus of attention due to Japan's trade restrictions that created a good opportunity for South Korea to accelerate the localization of important parts and materials. Carbon fiber is a strategic commodity that will be directly affected by Japan's trade restrictions.

At the height of a trade dispute between Seoul and Tokyo in August 2019, Hyosung, which was the first South Korean company to produce carbon fibers, announced a pre-emptive investment of one trillion won ($855 million) by 2028 to expand production in its carbon fiber plant in Jeonju, 188 kilometers (116 miles) south of Seoul.
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