Site: Nikkiso Co., Ltd.
43-2, Ebisu 3-chome, Shibuya-ku,
Tokyo 150-91, Japan

Date Visited: December 9, 1992

Report Author: D. Granville

ATTENDEES

JTEC:

M. Ashizawa
D. Granville
J. McDermott

HOSTS:

Mr. Masahiko Hatano

Pres. & Chief Operating Officer [now Vice Chmn.]

Mr. Toshiaki Noda

General Manager, Central Research Ctr.*, Licensed
Technical Translator

Mr. Takashi Ohsaki

Leader, Central Research Center

Dr. Kazuo Miyamichi

Central Research Center

Mr. Shinya Asada

Manager, Engineering Dept., Advanced Materials
Factory, Shizuoka Plant

Mr. Fumio Kida

Manager, Advanced Materials Factory

Mr. Kohichi Imai

Chief Staff, Central Research Ctr.

*As of Dec. 1993, the Central Research Center was renamed the "R&D Center"

BACKGROUND

Mr. Masahiko Hatano, President of Nikkiso Co., Ltd. at the time of the JTEC team's visit (now Vice Chairman), used to work at Toho Beslon Co., Ltd. as a vice president in charge of establishing a carbon fiber (CF) manufacturing technique.

Mr. Hatano has now succeeded in the commercialization of some of the major constituent components of airplanes utilizing CFRP, and also in the development of a brand new production technique of graphite whisker. Nikkiso continues to grant its CF production technique by licensing.

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

Nikkiso has an advanced materials factory to develop and produce high quality complicated composite parts for the aerospace and industrial markets, such as thrust reverser cascades (in production), precooler inlet scoop (BMI, FAA certified), a fairing track for thrust reversers (with epoxy), unmanned helicopter frames, steering wheels, and racing motor frames. They have developed their own automated layup machine and RTM technology, and have filament winder, autoclave, hot press, and water jet cutter. Full characterization, NDE (super soft x-ray) design and analysis, and FEA are done in-house.

Special features of the carbon fiber manufacturing process (licensed to the Boeing Company and Tae Kwang Industrial Co., Ltd.) include comonomers with a suitable oxidation speed, continuous solution polymerization (high molecular weight and its narrow distribution), incorporating a salt solution for spinnability, dry/wet spinning at high speeds, oiling agent for lubricating to separate filaments, and high-stretch carbonization for high strength.

Nikkiso has developed a low cost but high quality graphite whisker (GRASKER) for commodity applications including friction and wear materials, electroconductive materials, and battery electrodes.

Nikkiso has recently developed continuous fiber-reinforced ceramic composites (CFCC) for high temperature application.

SUMMARY

If the cost of carbon fiber were reduced to less than $10/kg., then it is believed that greater commodity use of carbon fibers and pre-pregs would occur despite the assembly and fabrication costs. They are working with major battery makers to develop high energy storage batteries using GRASKER anodes, as well as electroconductive inks for flexible circuit boards and TPs/TSs for wear resistance materials.

REFERENCES

Nikkiso Company, Ltd. "Nikkiso Outline & Products," 1992 annual report.

------. "GRASKER," at Nikkiso Shizuoka Plant, December 9, 1992 (viewgraphs)

------. Technical Information, "GRASKER Graphite Whiskers" No. 1.


Published: April 1994; WTEC Hyper-Librarian