Reserch & Development Organization
The Laboratories dated from 1990, unifying the Ehime Research Laboratory of the Fibers and Textiles Research Laboratories and the Composite Research Laboratory of the Polymer Research Laboratories. Research targets the carbon fiber TORAYCA®, matrix resins and other composite materials, fabric, prepreg and other intermediate materials, composite materials processing, design and analysis.
The Composite Materials Research Laboratories advances integrated research from acrylic fiber as the precursor of TORAYCA® carbon fiber up to the carbonization process used in final production.
Through control of the carbon crystalline structure design inside fibers, fiber surface modification at the nano-level and other technologies, we carried out research and development of the T800S carbon fiber with high compressive strength and intermediate elastic modulus, and this fiber has been used in major aircraft developed in recent years such as the Boeing 777 and 787, and Airbus A380. By further deepening structure control technology, we have also commercialized T1100G, in which both tensile strength and elastic modulus have been increased by 10%, and we will continue to pursue higher performance carbon fibers.
For matrix resins, the Laboratories applied thermoplastic particles to toughen the interlayer domain with a technology to suppress crack propagation when materials fracture and improve composite impact resistance. This was adopted in the TORAYCA® T800H/3900-2 high-toughness composite materials. T800H/3900-2 was certified as the first composite material for the primary structures of Boeing' s civil transport and applied in its 777 aircraft. A track record of applications was subsequently built up over more than 10 years, and in 2004 a contract was signed to exclusively supply TORAYCA® prepreg for the Boeing 787.
The Boeing 787 uses CFRP for primary structural components
(CFRP is used for 50% of the airframe structural weight)
Photo : Lenovo (Japan) Ltd.
In 2011, All Nippon Airways began to use the Boeing 787.Also, for sports applications, we are conducting research and development, using Toray's unique NANOALLOY® technology, on prepreg which exhibits high-level strength and impact-resistance, a combination which has previously been difficult to achieve. In this way we are helping to realize even lighter golf club shafts and bicycles. (See page 56 for more information on ANOALLOY® technology.) In the composite molding field, we are expanding into chassis for IT equipment by exploiting the strong, lightweight characteristics of carbon fiber composite materials. By using a laminated structure employing the high elastic modulus of carbon fibers at flat parts, and sophisticated fusion technology with the thermoplastic resin materials which comprise the complex flame parts, we are developing the world's first chassis for laptop computers with a CFRP frame, and moving toward applications with Lenovo and other companies.
On the other hand, full-scale applications of carbon fiber reinforced composite materials in automotive structural components have been researched through a number of national projects: the "New Global Warming Prevention Technology Program" (2003), "Development of Sustainable Hyper Composite Technology" (from 2007), and "Development of Thermoplastic CFRP, and Basic Technology for Structure Design and Processing " (from 2013).
Efforts are being made to create innovative molding, design and processing methods, such as molding the front floor of the automobile platform (chassis) in less than 10 minutes, and our research and development are accelerating toward wider application in automobiles.
Automobile components where carbon-fiber-reinforced composite materials can be used
*Winner of the 2009 Nikkei Global Environmental Technology Award
It has been demonstrated that, by applying carbon-fiber-reinforced composite materials to aircraft and automobiles in this way, fuselages and car bodies can be lightened, and fuel efficiency can be improved, thus contributing to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The laboratories are expanding their research activities to deepen and integrate material, intermediate substrate and molding technologies, in order to contribute to the solution of the global warming problem by expanding Toray's composite material business.
Milestones in Toray R&D
|1971||Commenced production of TORAYCA® carbon fiber.|
|1977||Established Ehime Research Laboratory of the Fibers and Textiles Research Laboratories.|
|1987||Established Composite Research Laboratory of the Polymer Research Laboratories.|
|1990||Established Composite Materials Research Laboratories.|
|1992||Commenced production of Torayca® carbon fiber prepreg T800H/3900-2 for use as primary structural material in civil aircraft.|
|1996||Commenced production of carbon-fiber-reinforced PC chassis with superior electromagnetic wave shielding properties.|
|2003||Developed super-lightweight and high rigidity PC chassis.|
|2008||Developed high-cycle molded components for automobiles.|
|2011||Boeing 787 using Toray CFRP came into service.|