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Contenu archivé le 2024-04-30

Continuous processing of endless fibre-reinforced metal wires (COPREM)


Objectives and content:
Endless fibre reinforced aluminium (EFRA), a special form of metal matrix composite (MMC), offers significant improvements in the properties of wires, combining high strength with high electrical conductivity unobtainable with conventional copper, aluminium or steel alone. In this way, EFRA provides a novel reinforcement material for innovative electrical conductor design for more efficient transmission of electricity at high voltage. Major RT&D activities in the USA and Japan are based on similar concepts. Potential cost benefits include savings of 6BECU over a forty year period on transmission losses plus a reduction of new power stations and transmission lines required per year in Europe. The project described below will develop the processing technology for a continuous infiltration and mmc wire forming process based on aluminium and 40 - 60 vol% carbon or ceramic fibres. It will also entail a detailed study of advanced conductor design and manufacturing methods based on these new composite materials and a detailed technico economic survey encompassing the manufacturing and utilisation aspects of these designs.

To date, EFRA batch processing techniques are costly, restricted to small dimensions and not applicable to continuous processing. Thus, users are not able to exploit the full potential of the material, at high volume fractions for long shapes. The main technical challenges consist of wetting the fibres continuously and effectively by the melt. and minimising subsequent interface reactions which occur once wetting is enforced. The objectives of this project are to establish the technical basis for continuous EFRA processing by a cost effective method capable of being exploited by both the manufacturers and the electricity supply Companies in the form of advanced conductors. Pressure infiltration, flux assisted infiltration (including low cost fibre surface coatings) and electromagnetic agitation techniques will provide better continuous means of liquid metal infiltration between the fibres. Preliminary trials have been successful, but thorough RT&D work involving process manipulation and control, micro characterisation, property testing and modelling is needed to develop the necessary laboratory installations to take the processes forward. Processing procedures and properties of fibres and EFRA reinforced conductors will be studied to match the application of high strength, stiff advanced composite materials to conductor technology. A detailed comprehensive study of the conductor design, manufacturing methods, performance simulation and detailed technico economic assessments of the entire process will be included. At the end of this project, the basis of a suitable, optimised EFRA processing method will be established, and the structure for a subsequent industrialisation programme will be defined. The consortium includes two major European Utilities, a university and RT&D institutions with strong MMC backgrounds two energy related Industrial Partners serving the technical needs of the Utilities as well two wire and conductor manufacturers who will take the projects achievements forward in subsequent scaling-up, industrialisation and exploitation. BE97-4643

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CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


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Participants (8)