Research Project Summary Information
Environmentally Benign Energy Saving High Performance Fiber Process Commercialization(ST10828-1)
Free Form Fibers, LLC
Free Form Fibers (FFF) is a start-up company commercializing a process for making monofilament High Performance Fibers (HPFs). HPF provides increased strength and improved heat resistance at greatly reduced weights. Existing processes to make HPF are very slow and produce only a small amount at very high cost. FFF’s process uses laser-assisted chemical vapor deposition. Advantages over existing processes include material independence, lower cost, greater speed, less energy, less pollution, and less development time.
This feasibility study develops a novel process for manufacturing non-organic high-performance mono-filaments (HPF) in a way that reduces energy, emissions and costs, as compared with current methods. The study completed a prototype industrial reactor and then tested scientific, technical and economic claims. It issued a product characterization of its filaments, a process characterization of its reactor, a demonstration of Tungsten Carbide or Silicon Carbide fabrication and a pre-commercialization plan for Tungsten Carbide monofilament.
Observed energy benefits included a 30-fold improvement over the technologically-closest competing process, as well as an estimated 100- to 1000-fold improvement over polymer chemistry-based HPF production processes, such as the most common process used to produce Silicon Carbide fibers.
FFF can produce HPFs for use in various applications requiring advanced materials with exceptional strength, stiffness, heat resistance and/or chemical resistance, such as military, aerospace, automobile, biomedical, and energy. Using the process, many different materials can be produced with the same basic production equipment. The energy footprint of the process is 1/1000th that of competing approaches, because the energy required to produce fibers is put only where needed: on fiber tips. The lack of furnaces or other energy-intensive post-processing drastically reduces energy consumption, and the process itself produces very little waste. Most of the precursors can be consumed to produce the product, and most of the effluence will be a stream of natural elements, such as argon, helium, etc. The process produces pure fibers, unlike all competing approaches, which introduce performance-robbing impurities. Because there are no domestic sources of pure fibers of certain strategic materials, such as Silicon Carbide and Boron or Boron Carbide, the U.S. is currently in a dependency position. Hence DARPA, the Army, NSF and NASA are supporting FFF efforts through subsequent grants, and corporations including GE, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce, and Teledyne have expressed commercialization interest.
Free Form Fibers, LLC
10 Cady Hill Blvd
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
NYSERDA Contact Information
R&D - Mfg Tech & On-Site Pwr