Site: Mitsubishi Kasei Corp. (MKC)
Midori-ku, Yokohama 227
Date Visited: December 7, 1992
Report Author: D. Granville
Mr. Takao Uematsu
Mr. Shigeki Tomonoh
Dr. Tohru Imanara
Mr. Junichi Goto
Mitsubishi Kasei is involved in six basic areas of technology: carbon chemistry, inorganic chemistry and metallurgy, organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, electronics, and biotechnology. MKC services civil engineering and the sporting goods markets as well as the pharmaceutical, agricultural, and communications markets. This is an innovative corporation with diverse interests from superconductors to carbon fiber and biotechnology.
A joint venture with U.S. company Fiberite/ICI dissolved in October of 1992.
MKC's research activity in advanced polymer composites includes materials-pitch based carbon fiber, formulations of thermoset resins, thermoplastics resin and prepreg (pan-based CF, pitch based CF, GF, aramid fiber).
In pitch carbon fiber development, MKC markets "Dialead" (500 tons/year), to make prepregs and printing press rolls. It is one of the three largest manufacturers of pitch based carbon fiber in Japan. They start at the raw feedstock level with coal tar (pitch coke, needle coke, dialead) which is incorporated into metals, plastics and cement. Several application technologies were developed or are being developed for civil engineering and architecture: curtain wall, rod for prestressed reinforcement, smoke stack reinforcement, slab retrofitting reinforced with CF UD tape and also special resin systems for reinforcement. The Kyushu Prince Hotel has cement walls using graphite-reinforced cement. Another innovation is in smoke stack applications where the top 1/3 is reinforced with pitch-based graphite. Pre-preg uni-tape is laid down along the stack axis, then overwrapped with wet strand reinforcement at a low temperature cure. Other applications include 8 mm diameter carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) rods (thermoplastic) for anchors in construction (often prestressed) and hexagonal honeycomb pontoons.
Structural RIM has applications for electric motor scooters and also for large parts with high strength at high speeds. From near net-shape parts (30% V(f)) using epoxy/acrylic hybrid resins, a scooter frame was developed which replaced a steel frame and fairings with a 40% weight savings. Other applications are being pursued for sporting goods (lamination technology for golf shafts and fishing rods) and industrial markets (roll manufacturing technology and railway components). Not much work is being done on automotive applications, but they are doing work on trains.
Business units fund 80% of MKC research activities, specifically in pitch-based carbon development, pre-preg, chopped fiber etc. MKC developed the SRIM process with special hybrid resin systems, and successfully applied the modeled product to the structural body of an electric scooter, the design and assembly of which were performed at Tokyo R&D. MKC is the developer and supplier of pitch carbon fiber (chopped and continuous) and epoxy/acrylic resins. It is developing the processing science in structural RIM, as well as the processing science and product development in CFRPs (PC, PBI, TP molding compounds), scooter frames, golf shafts, composite rolls, cement walls, and composite rod for construction anchors.
Mitsubishi Kasei Corporation. "DIALEAD CFRC (Carbon Fiber
------. "DIALEAD - Coal Tar Pitch Carbon Fiber". Mitsubishi Kasei Corp. and Mitsubishi Kasei America Inc. California Office (viewgraphs).
------. "I am MITSUBISHI KASEI" 1991-92 Annual Report (brochure).
------. "Mitsubishi Kasei - CFRP LEADLINE Carbon Fiber Rod" (brochure).
------. "Mitsubishi Kasei DIALEAD:Coal Tar Pitch-Based Carbon Fiber" (brochure).
------. "Mitsubishi Kasei, Ohbayashi Corporation - New Method with New Materials-Carbon Fiber Reinforced Earthquake-Resistant Retrofitting" (brochure).
------. "Mitsubishi Pitch Carbon Fiber - Application: Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermosetting Plastics" (brochure).
------. "Mitsubishi Pitch Carbon Fiber - Application: Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermo Plastics" (brochure).
------. "Mitsubishi Pitch Carbon Fiber - Application: Carbon-Carbon Composite" (brochure).
------. "Mitsubishi Pitch Carbon Fiber - Application: Metal Matrix Composite" (brochure).
------. "RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT - Mitsubishi Kasei Corporation," with Corporate Data enclosed, as of July 1, 1990 (brochure).
Reprint of "Advanced Materials for Future Industries: Needs and Seeds." from Proceedings of The Second Japan International SAMPE Symposium and Exhibition, Chiba, Japan, December 11-14, 1991 by the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering," Abstract by Shoichi Sato, Tohru Imanara, Naomi Iketani, and Takao Uematsu, "A New Resin System for S-RIM," pp. 44-50.