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Prerequisites and mechanisms of release of respirable fibrous carbon fiber fragments (CarboBreak)

Project number: F 2476 Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Status: Ongoing Project Planned end: 2021-12-31


Lightweight construction offensive and e-mobility accelerated extensive developments in the area of innovative fiber materials and fiber composites. In particular, with carbon fibers, the global demand has more than doubled within this decade and so-called carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) experienced in a variety of applications and products, such as in wind turbines, aircraft and automobiles, an increasing demand.

In the process chain from the fiber through the textile surface and the composite material to recycling and recycling, carbon fibers are subjected to high mechanical stresses. In these processes splintering can occur and long, respirable fiber fragments can be released, which according to the WHO an asbestos-like effect must be assumed. So far, it is unclear which carbon fibers tend to fracture in this way and in what concentration fragments are released.

The aim of the project CarboBreak is therefore to gain in-depth knowledge of the fracture behavior of carbon fibers and to investigate the release behavior of respirable fractures under mechanical stress. The focus is on the development of recommendations in dealing with carbon fibers with regard to occupational health and safety. The results of the CarboBreak project make a fundamental contribution to the development of application-safe materials and products according to the "Safety by Design" approach. Achieving these project goals requires collaborative, cross-industry efforts across research and industry disciplines, which will be brought together in the project consortium.


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