Dixie Chemical Contributing to the Product Innovation Process in Syntactic Foam and Carbon Fiber

PASADENA, TX, May 2018 – Dixie Chemical and its partnership with Evonik and NYU were recently featured in Advanced Materials & Processes Magazine. The article describes how the three organizations are working together on the product innovation process of creating the right kind of syntactic foam for products for use in aerospace, deep sea application, transportation and an increasing number of other industries.

Dixie Contributes to Product Innovation Process
Streamlining the Product Innovation Process

The Advanced Materials and Processes (AMP) article highlights the key characteristics of the collaborative Syntactic Design online system. The streamlined online tool combines user variables and algorithms to produce formulas. NYU engineers brought in Dixie Chemical and Evonik to develop the online tool, which “makes it easier for manufacturers to design custom syntactic foams for specific end products.”

Reducing the Cost of Carbon Fiber

Another part of the article discusses carbon fiber. While seemingly unrelated, this is another area that Dixie Chemical is researching. In April, Dr. Gary Gladysz and Dr. Vinay Mishra from the Dixie team visited and toured the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility (CFTF) at Oak Ridge National Lab. The focus of the facility is to reduce the cost of carbon fiber. Half of the carbon fiber cost is the precursor PAN fiber. Most current CF manufacturers use specialty polyacrylonitrile (PAN) fibers specifically formulated for carbonization. Half of the carbon fiber cost comes from the precursor fiber. What sets CFTF apart is that it utilizes low cost precursors such as fabric-grade PAN, lignin, polyolefin or pitch and optimizes the CF conversion process around them.

How is Dixie Chemical involved? Oak Ridge National Lab is focused on couple of initiatives that they are doing thru IACMI, and Dixie is looking into contributing to the product innovation process.

The first step is to collaborate with Michelman to create a industry reference for materials selection (matrix and sizing) for carbon-fiber, based composites to meet design needs. Dubbed “The Book of Knowledge,” the materials will cover thermosets (epoxy, PU, vinyl ester etc.) and thermoplastics. The Lab plans to fabricate and test lab-scale batches to characterize the mechanical and interface properties – Dixie has offered to supply anhydride for this effort.

The second step is a pultrusion line. The Lab is in the process of constructing a CF pultrusion line in the facility and Dixie has offered anhydride for this this effort, as well.

Both the Syntactic Design tool and the willingness to help the CFTF at Oak Ridge National Lab are examples of Dixie Chemical’s commitment to advancing the product manufacturing process across the specialty chemical manufacturing industry. It is through this open innovation operation that true progress is made in the industry – progress that Dixie is proud to be a part of.

About Dixie Chemical Company

Since 1946, Dixie Chemical has been committed to manufacturing high-quality, high-performance chemical products that improve our world. With 300 customers in 25 countries, Dixie Chemical is a proven partner for open innovation in thermoset materials, alkaline paper sizing, and fuel and lube markets. For more information, visit www.dixiechemical.com.