Electrical applications of carbon fiber

In the 1960-1970 era, when PAN carbon fiber was first introduced, obviously creature comfort was paramount and carbon fiber was introduced into toilet seats as a heating element. It was also used in wall panels for room heating. The modern equivalents of these end uses are a Gorix electro-conductive textile, a PAN based woven carbon fiber capable of acting as a flexible heating element, portable heating unit, large area temperature sensor, an electrical switching function, temperature management system, warning and control devices. Gorix is used for self heating diving suits, controlling the temperature without a thermostat and without hot spots across an entire area. A typical suit comprises a strip on each forearm to keep the hands warm, a further pair sewn into the calf sections to keep the feet warm and a fifth patch sewn into the lower back to warm the kidneys.

Gorix used in car seats enables uniform heat to be applied and controlled with a slider. The idea has been considered for possible use in carpets as a replacement for central heating. Gorix can also be used for clothing, heater beds and blankets, heated spinal injury board, alpine recovery stretcher and thermal boots/gloves.

Carbon fiber can be used for carbon fiber brushes in electrical apparatus.

Tallored resistance carbon fiber: It is possible to make carbon fiber with a range of resistivities, so that a fiber can be custom made at a given process temperature to provide the requisite resistivity for a given application. This type of fiber can be used as a low signature type to avoid detection by radar. Since the fiber is lightweight and does not corrode, it can be advantageously used to leak a charge on a power line. In cities, television ghost images due to multiple reflections can be solved by coating with an absorbent layer. The addition of about 5% to brake pad formulations can significantly reduce the wear and improve the life of the brake pad.

Cathodic protection: The addition of 0.53-1.1% v/v short isostropic pitch carbon fiber in mortar applied to steel reinforced concrete decreased the contact resistivity and volume resistivity of the new mortar, enabling a satisfactory electrical contact material to be made fro the cathodic protection of steel reinforced old mortar or concrete.

Elimination of static: Carbon fiber has been incorporated in vinyl tiles to dissipate static and is particularly useful for hospital flooring. Also, to assist dissipation of static, carpets have been manufactured containing carbon fiber in the backing material and computer casings made from a molding compound containing carbon fiber.

Electrodes: This application is hardly likely to use much carbon fiber, but a most interesting application is connected with a micro-ion-to-phoretic assembly, commonly manufactured from five or seven multi-barreled assemblies, where the glass tubes are fused by gripping the ends in chucks and pulling the assembly in a heated zone, whilst rotating one end to fuse the individual lengths of glass together. Recently thera or quadrant glass blanks have become available and are more convenient. If carbon fiber is incorporated in the tube, this provides a conductive path, giving excellent signal to noise ratio when recording extracellular recording of neuronal firing.

These carbon fiber electrodes can also be used for voltametric analysis of transmitters in vivo, but the electrodes must not be spark-etched as they become electrically noisy, instead they can be plated with silver.

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