News | January 18, 2022

KIMS Developed Multifunctional Carbon Nanotube Fiber Technology

High-strength and high energy storage capacity!

The research team led by Dr. Kim Tae-Hoon of the Department of Functional Composites of the Composite Research Division at the Korea Institute of Materials Science, a government-funded research institute under the Ministry of Science and ICT, succeeded in developing the world's first multifunctional carbon nanotube fiber which simultaneously achieves high energy storage capacity and high strength, together with the research team of professor Yang Seung-jae of Inha University (President Myung Woo Cho).

Most of the existing energy storage and structural materials have only one property between high strength or high energy storage capacity. By using carbon nanotube fiber that is light, strong, and has excellent electrical conductivity, the material developed by the two research teams has both properties simultaneously.

The research team applied surface treatment on carbon nanotube fibers and produced a high-strength fiber-type supercapacitor by inducing the growth of porous carbon. This enabled the synthesis of new fibrous material with energy storage properties while maintaining the strength of carbon nanotube fibers. The researchers confirmed that the fiber-type supercapacitor stably operates while supporting a heavyweight.

The existing technology required a separate material to support the battery and the load, but the newly-developed material can successfully apply both roles, which is significant for suggesting a new direction for the development of lightweight materials. In particular, the multifunctional carbon nanotube fiber technology is expected to be used in electric vehicles, drones, and aerospace/aviation fields that require weight reduction.

Carbon nanotube fiber is drawing attention as a next-generation material. There is only one company in the US that is practically utilizing the technology for mass production. Through the localization of the material, it is expected to substitute the import as well as to be available for export.

Dr. Kim Tae-Hoon, a senior researcher at KIMS, said, “Using multifunctional carbon nanotube fibers can help improve the driving distance of future mobility such as drones. It is expected to appy to the aerospace, aviation, and defense that require lightweight, high strength, and high conductivity.”

The research was supported by Energy Production and Storage Material Convergence Property Tailoring-type Textile Material Technology Development Project of KIMS and the 4U Composite Material Development Project, an open research project, of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, with funding from the Ministry of Science and ICT. In addition, the research was published in Science Advances, a sister journal of Science, which is a world-class academic journal, on January 5th.

Meanwhile, the research team is conducting follow-up research on bulletproof materials and ultra-light composite materials, utilizing the research outcomes, and developing mass-production method as well as electromagnetic wave shielding of CNT fibers.

Source: Korea Institute of Materials Science