Production of Carbon Fabrics and Threads Made from Rayon
In 1987 a New York tabloid newspaper printed a long story about carbon-carbon with a Russian wife and me. The story made the compound word carbon-carbon sound very important. The paper of the tabloid where the words were printed was made of carbon-carbon and water derived from wood. The ink on the paper was carbon-carbon in a form derived from lampblack. A process to make lampblack was developed in England in 1864. Early printers ink was obtained from soot of burning candles. Around 1943 I helped my Mamma produce this ink in 1942 using a kerosene lamp to collect lampblack on a plate. This was mixed into kerosene so she could paint it on to a paper with holes in it. These holes formed a pattern for her hand hooked rug business.
There is no dog to be found in a dog biscuit and no is lead found in a lead pencil. The black mark scribbled on paper by school children when I was young was amorphous carbon-carbon called graphite. In 1921 Armand Hammer, a New York Jew, established a pencil business in the new Soviet Union as a capitalist operating in the communist state. His book, Hammer: Witness to History was published in 1987.
The Greek name for carbon-carbon-carbon-carbon-carbon, in a chain of billions, was "adamas" which translates to invincible. The Greeks were talking about a diamond that was relatively pure carbon-carbon formed in nature. Records from the Middle Ages give this gem magical powers as a peacemaker between husband and wife. God did not create carbon for diamonds and it sure is not invincible because it will burn like a piece of coal.
God made this element to combine with water and other elements as the foundation of all life. There were infinite combinations and compounds of carbon hooked to carbon. Every breath humans and animals breathe out was carbon dioxide. In a never ending life cycle the trees in the forest and other living vegetables ate this gas using another of God's inventions in the electromagnetic spectrum called photosynthesis.
Carbon fibers were produced in nature, but it was not until the 1870's when Edison was searching for a filament for his incandescent light when history recorded that man had produced carbon fibers. This technology did not come from Edison but from his business partner, Swan, in England.
A Dutch firm, Eenste Nederlandsche Kunstzijdefabrik (artificial silk) in Arnheim, (ENKA) later modified the Swan chemical process and began the production of synthetic textile fibers. The early fibers were from a cellulose base.
DuPont developed a process to convert wood to a long chain thread in the 1920's they named rayon. Under DuPont license ENKA started a rayon processing plant in America near Asheville, NC in 1929. My father worked as a laborer on the construction crew. In 1945 he was employed as the cashier for the cafeteria where he worked until he retired. My first job was with the nylon department of this firm in 1954. As a laboratory technician I worked less than six months but it gave me an understanding of future carbon fiber production.
The use of Rayon in tires dropped dramatically after the war but the use in textiles increased. When Britain gave India freedom they started to produce cotton in direct competition with rayon.
At Union Carbide's research center in </span><span style='color:black'>Parma</span><span style='color:black'>, </span><span style='color:black'>Ohio </span><span style='color:black'> Roger Bacon demonstrated the ultrahigh strength of graphite in filamentary form in 1958.
Around this time the British government issued a grant to a research group to find new uses for rayon. In 1960 they started the production of carbon fabrics and threads made from rayon. This is a simple process because all that is needed is to heat the material in the absence of air so it does not burn during the conversion process. Charcoal is made from wood using the same process. When mamma left her hot flat iron sit on cotton too long she produced carbon fiber. The first time I saw this material was on TV in early 1961when I asked Union Carbide if they could wrap this material around the 40 inch carbon cylinders were we using at Beryllium to produce Polaris nose sections because the graphite was failing. I suggested to the top management of Union Carbide that this would make an ideal product for the sections we were making from beryllium. They told me that there was less than 100 pounds in the whole world at the time.
In 1962 a large quantity of carbon felt insulation was required for a large furnace Lona and I were designing for NASA. The purpose of this furnace was to test a carbon rocket nozzle to be used on the proposed hot hydrogen engine. Union carbide agreed to make the product in sufficient amounts for this project. Joe Lona and I ran the first tests to determine the insulation value of this product at Ajax.
Lona and I started up the first major production facility for carbon cloth production on the day Kennedy was shot.
The first commercial high-performance carbon fibers were available by 1963, based on a process discovered at </span><span style='color:black'>Parma</span><span style='color:black'> for heat-treating rayon.
In 1970, Singer made progress on another kind of carbon fiber at </span><span style='color:black'>Parma</span><span style='color:black'> Labs. He used a "taffy-pulling" apparatus to align molecules in pitch's liquid-crystal state and then heated the mixture to produce a oriented carbon fiber.
The state of the art for carbon structures at the time Aerojet was designing the nozzle extension was fiberglass technology using resins. When they determined that this would not work for this large fragile part I suggested the use of pitch based on information from a friend at Union Carbide.
While we were completing Aerojet two engineers working at the Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee discovered a manufacturing method using carbon fibers and pitch to make none cones for rockets. American engineers Lambdin and Cook working for Union Carbide Nuclear Division discovered a method for the fabrication of discontinuous, high-fiber content isotropic carbon-carbon composites. This work was accomplished under contract (Contract W-7405 eng 26) to the Atomic Energy Commission supervised by the Department of Energy. A report, as required by law, was issued on October 22, 1971 and the division of classification confirmed and stamped it "unclassified".
If I had read this document before 1984 many future things would have been different. This document and detailed documents on the proposed rocket motor for NERVA (Mars Rocket) will be stored with my records.
The engineers that developed this carbon process took positions at FMI shortly afterwards and began the production of carbon "fiberform" insulation using the free patent issued to the Department of Energy.
In 1975 a document from Battelle Columbus Laboratories defined the process of using high pressure (15,000 psi) to produce rocket nose cones.
High-modulus fibers became available in this period, when Bacon and Wesley Schalamon used a "hot-stretching" process to stretch carbon yarn during heat-up, not afterward.<span style='color:black'></span>
<span style='color:black'>I can not find the exact date but the British used another synthetic material that was stressed during heating to produce the first high strength carbon fibers. The first use was for tests of new brakes for the planned Concorde. Better brakes were needed so the Concorde could reduce the fuel load required for reverse thrust stopping. This also allowed a lighter engine because reverse thrusters would not be needed.
I have not found the exact reference but a new process was described in the technical literature about this time called MOD3. The material won the engineering "material of the year" award. These engineers used carbon fibers that were soaked in resin before being formed into shapes where the threads were laced up in three directions. The space between the threads were filled with liquid tar (95% carbon) before being heated to convert the tar to carbon. The 1995 trial transcripts of FMI (Boston Federal Court-Lachman) give exact details of the of this process.
Around 1977 the Navy gave FMI a contract to process nose cones using the 36 inch isopress located at Beryllium Corporation in Hazleton, PA. (Joe
Loan installed this unit in 1966 but left the company before it was used.)