Dry Cargo Body
Carbon fiber composite panels in the dry cargo body have also proved a successful application. One of the typical examples is in the world retail giant, Wal-Mart. From 2007 to 2015, a fleet of Wal-Mart in the USA had improved its transportation efficiency by 84.2% in the travel distance more than 4.8 million kilometers, carrying over 800 million cargo boxes. What’s the secret?
To “carry more and run faster”, Wal-Mart has invested heavily in the research program called “Advanced Vehicle Experience”. The new-concept dry cargo adopted a series of advanced technology like aerodynamics, microturbine hybrid drive system, electrification, high-tech control system, and CFRT car body. The whole body is made of CFRT material, with 16.2m thermoplastic composite panels in the roof and two sides. The excellent mechanical performance provides the structural strength of the whole body and the aerodynamic performance is 20% higher than its former model 386.
Wind Turbine Blades
Wind power is the most cost-effective energy among all renewable energy sources. It is predicted that by the year 2020, wind power generation will account for 11.81% of the world’s total power generation. In order to improve the power conversion efficiency of wind turbines, it is the key to increase the unit capacity and reduce the unit kilowatt quality. The wind turbine blade is the key part to capture wind energy. Larger blades bring a larger capacity of power generation. With the increase of rotor diameter, materials have to be lighter and stronger. Carbon fiber can make up for the lack of performance of glass fiber composite materials. But for a long time, due to cost factors, carbon fiber has only been used in key parts such as beam caps, rotor roots, noses, and skins of the rotor blade. In recent years, as the price of carbon fiber has steadily decreased, and the length of the blade has been further lengthened, the application of CFRT has increased.
GDL Material of Fuel Cells
As a high-performance composite material, the carbon fiber paper is an indispensable porous material for gas diffusion layers in fuel cell membrane electrodes. The gas diffusion layer (GDL) constitutes the channel for the gas to diffuse from the flow cell to the catalyst layer. It is the heart of the fuel cell and a very important supporting material in the membrane electrode assembly (MEA). Its main task is to connect the MEA with the graphite plate. The GDL can help the water generated outside the catalyst layer flow away as soon as possible to avoid overflow caused by water accumulation; it can also help to maintain a certain amount of water content on the surface of the membrane, ensuring the conductivity of water and electric. In addition, the GDL provides sufficient mechanical strength to maintain the structural stability of the MEA.
Using carbon fiber paper and carbon fiber cloth as the GDL can achieve a better effect no matter in the fuel cells of proton exchange membrane or direct methanol. Each fuel cell electric vehicle consumes about100 m2(8kg) of carbon fiber paper.
At the 2016 Global Railway Equipment Trade Fair, Alstom released the world’s first liquid hydrogen fuel cell electric train. It opened up a larger space of market and application for fuel cells and promoted the further development of carbon fiber paper technology.