Dr. Dae-Yoon Kim and his research team at the Functional Composite Materials Research Center within the KIST Jeonbuk Institute of Advanced Composite Materials announced that they have applied carbon nanotubes to aramid fibers to develop a new kind of composite fiber. In addition to being lightweight, strong, and fire-resistant, the fiber also has electrical conductivity, which is a first for conventional aramid fibers. The newly developed fiber is black in color due to the presence of carbon nanotubes.
Inspired by the characteristics of a silkworm cocoon, the KIST research team succeeded in combining aramid, which has extremely low dispersibility, with carbon nanotubes. By utilizing the liquid crystal phase, silkworms produce high-strength fiber using high-concentration protein. Possessing both liquid-like fluidity and crystal-like order, the liquid crystal minimizes the coagulation of aramid and carbon nanotubes as well as improves the alignment. Utilizing these characteristics, the research team created a new type of composite fiber with high level of specific strength similar to that of existing commercial aramid fibers, as well as a specific electrical conductivity level of approximately 90% of that of copper wires.
Despite these electrical characteristics, this next-generation aramid fiber does not use any metals, resulting in flexibility, non-corrosiveness, and a lightweight profile (approximately 30% of the weight of copper wires). It is expected to be used as a next-generation wire in various applications, such as smart military, medical robots, eco-friendly mobility, and aerospace technologies. Dr. Dae-Yoon Kim added, “This technology will have a significant impact on the super fiber market.”
KIST was established in 1966 as the first government-funded research institute in Korea. KIST now strives to solve national and social challenges and secure growth engines through leading and innovative research. For more information, please visit KIST’s website at https://eng.kist.re.kr/
This research was supported by KIST’s K-Lab program and NRF’s Excellent Young Research Program and was published in Advanced Fiber Materials (IF: 12.924, JCR 1.923%), a prestigious international academic journal in the field of fiber.