Research publications

2 results

Development of heavy tows from recycled carbon fibers for low-cost and high performance thermoset composites (rCF heavy tows)

Raw materials Fibres Yarns Composites Textile machinery Recycling Sustainability Circular economy Technical Textiles


Within the framework of the IGF research project (21612 BR), the entire process chain for the industrial production of novel twist-free rCF heavy tows was developed at ITM. In particular, a novel technology for the production of rCF heavy tows based on recycled carbon (rCF ≥ 90 vol.%) and hot melt adhesive fibers (< 10 vol.%) was designed, constructed and successfully implemented. This includes fiber preparation, the carding process for card sliver formation, the stretching process for drawn sliver formation, and the final fabrication of the rCF heavy tows from rCF and hot melt adhesive fibers in a newly developed test set-up. The suitability of the developed technology is demonstrated by the implementation of rCF heavy tows with different rCF types, fiber lengths and fiber volume contents and a demonstrator. The developed rCF heavy tows with finenesses between 3000-7000 tex and their further processability into textile semi-finished products were successfully demonstrated. The developed rCF Heavy Tows and composites based on them exhibit a maximum composite tensile strength and a maximum Young’s modulus of 1158±72 MPa and 80±5.7 GPa, respectively. The rCF Heavy Tows are thus applicable for low-cost thermoset composites with high performance and complex geometry. Thus, the developed rCF Heavy Tows offer a very high innovation and market potential in the fields of materials and materials, lightweight construction, environmental and sustainability research, and resource efficiency. This opens up the opportunity for SMEs in the textile industry to develop new products and technologies for the fiber composite market and to establish themselves as suppliers for the automotive, mechanical engineering and aerospace, medical and sports equipment industries.


Introduction, problem definition and aim of the project

Carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) are increasingly used in lightweight applications due to their high stiffness and strength as well as low density, especially in aerospace, transportation, wind energy, sports equipment or construction. Global demand of CFRP is predicted to increase to 197,000 t/a by 2024, almost tripling compared to 2011. This shows an urgent need for solutions to recycle the high quality carbon fiber (rCF) in terms of the circular economy. This is necessary not only due to strict legal regulations, but also for ecological and economic reasons. In recent years, numerous research institutes and companies developed solutions for the reuse of rCF in the fields of nonwovens, injection molding or as hybrid yarns. However, the majority of these works involve the use of rCF in combination with thermoplastic fibers for thermoplastic composites. In the field of rCF-based thermoset CFRP, mainly rCF nonwovens made of 100% rCF have been so far developed. Since the fibers in the nonwovens mostly have a limited length and a low orientation and process-related additional high fiber damage occurs, with these materials only maximum 30% of the composite characteristic values of CFRP components made of carbon filament yarns can be so far achieved.

Currently, the matrix systems used in the field of high mechanical loaded CFRPs are predominantly thermoset. Such components exhibit high dimensional stability, high stiffness and strength as well as are suitable for the implementation of complex component geometries due to low-viscosity matrix systems. However, primary carbon filament yarns are particularly used for these components due to the insufficient properties of rCF. In addition to low sustainability, the utilization of these filament yarns result in at least 200 % higher cost. The production of primary carbon filament yarn requires a high-energy demand of about 230 MJ/kg with a CO2 emission equivalent to 20 kg CO2/kg CF. Here, a significant improvement of the CO2 balance is required to make a substantial contribution to the envisaged climate protection goals of the Federal Republic of Germany and the EU. For this reason, the focus of the project work is the development of novel, sustainable rCF heavy tows made of recycled carbon fibers (rCF) and associated manufacturing technologies for the implementation of cost-effective thermoset composites with high mechanical performance.


The IGF project 21612 BR of the Research Association Forschungskuratorium Textil e.V. was funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) via the AiF within the framework of the program for the promotion of joint industrial research and development (IGF) on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag. We would like to thank the above-mentioned institutions for providing the financial resources.

Authors: Mahmud Hossain, Anwar Abdkader und Chokri Cherif

Technische Universität Dresden
Fakultät Maschinenwesen
Institut für Textilmaschinen und Textile Hochleistungswerkstofftechnik (ITM)
01062 Dresden

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High-efficiency electrodes with ultralight fabric-based current collectors for lithium-ion batteries

Fabrics Sustainability Technical Textiles


Lithium-ion batteries (LIB) are indispensable key components for electro mobility and the success of the energy transition. They offer high energy density and high cycle stability. Eight partners from industry and science are developing technologies and components in the funded project "revoLect" (funding code: 03ETE041) in order to be able to produce resource-saving and more efficient LIBs. The project is pursuing two key innovations: the replacement of the usual metal foils with a metallized fabric structure and the use of silicon as anode material.


Batteries are one of the key components for the success of the global energy transition. They are indispensable as stationary energy storage devices in combination with electricity from renewable energies and are a basic prerequisite for electro mobility. The demand for batteries is currently increasing enormously. Already, about 16% of newly registered passenger cars in Germany have an electric drive [1]. In addition to this increasing demand for electro mobility, there is also an increasing demand for batteries for smartphones, laptops, electric bicycles and stationary energy storage

The most important current battery type is lithium-ion batteries (LIB). Their high energy density and high cycle stability offer a long range for electric vehicles at marketable costs. The task now is to exploit the potential of the batteries by further developing all their components and their production technologies. This is the goal pursued by the eight project partners of the revoLect project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection BMWK. The project partners are pooling their expertise along the entire process chain of battery production. In the project, novel electrodes with lightweight fabric-based current collectors are being developed for lithium-ion batteries using a resource-saving technology. This technology requires less use of primary raw materials such as copper and aluminum compared to previous lithium-ion batteries. At the same time, this technology enables higher energy densities and thus further material savings from the cell to the system level. Another development focus is the use of pure silicon as anode material in combination with the lightweight fabric structure of the electrodes.

Project partner PORCHER INDUSTRIES GERMANY GmbH is a specialist in the production of glass fabrics from glass filament yarns. In the revoLect project, PORCHER INDUSTRIES is developing ultralight glass fabrics as the basis for electricity collectors. The aim here is to produce ultralight fabrics from the finest glass filament yarns. In parallel, the Dresden University of Technology, Institute of Textile Machinery and High Performance Material Technology (ITM), is developing ultralight carbon fabrics based on a carbon spreading technology for the highly efficient electrodes.

The developed carbon and glass fabrics are metallized by elfolion GmbH by vacuum processes for use as current collectors. The current collector strip material is provided for the production of composite electrodes. elfolion itself is aiming at the realization of a cell cathode, consisting of fractal porous solid structures, which are the active component of the electrode. Compared to the state of the art, the open-mesh and lightweight structure of the fabrics and the porous coating lead to significantly reduced material usage and larger active surfaces. This increases the energy density of battery cells significantly in terms of both mass and volume.

The RWTH Aachen University, Chair of Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components (PEM), is developing processes for coating the fabric-based current collectors with slurry-based electrode materials. Among other things, the pilot plant for cell production is being adapted to process the novel materials. In addition, it is investigating the design and production of the battery cells based on the components provided by the project partners.

Fraunhofer FEP's goal in the revoLect project is to develop a process for depositing silicon on the fabric structures. Claus Luber explains: "We have to match the silicon layer and the fabric structures in such a way that an optimum is achieved with regard to the gravimetric energy density of the anode. Fraunhofer FEP has decades of experience in the development of roll-to-roll technologies. Based on this, we will develop a suitable and economically attractive roll-to-roll vapor deposition process."

The partner CUSTOMCELLS ® coats the novel substrates with electrode paste under industry-standard conditions. Subsequently, the performance of the batteries is tested by electrochemical measurements.

The Institute for Experimental Physics at the Technical University of Freiberg is involved in the characterization of the processed individual components and button and pouch cells. From this, microstructure-property correlations as well as design proposals and processing parameters will be derived for the cooperation partners.

ROMONTA GmbH interconnects the manufactured cells to battery systems and carries out final practice-related application tests. In the evaluation, cell parameters such as aging and current/voltage resistance are to be analyzed and transferred to the mobile application. This will ensure the powerful performance of the LIB.

Lithium-ion batteries with significantly increased energy density and lower material consumption compared to the state of the art: this is the ambition of the project consortium. All partners in the revoLect project will be working at full speed over the next 3 years on application-oriented development along the entire process chain for the production of highly efficient lithium-ion batteries.

[1] source: ADAC- new car registrations in November 2022,

About the project

revoLect - High-efficiency electrodes with ultralight fabric-based current collectors for lithium-ion batteries. Subproject: Development of vacuum technologies for the productive deposition of columnar silicon layers on fabric.

Funding reference: 03ETE041                   

Duration: 01.09.2022 – 31.08.2025

Project partner:

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP
  • Technische University of Technology – Faculty of Chemistry and Physics - Institute for Experimental Physics
  • Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen - Faculty 4 – Mechanical Engineering – Chair of Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components (PEM)
  • Dresden University of Technology – Faculty of Mechanical Engineering – Institute for Textile Machinery and Textile High Performance Materials
  • Porcher Industries Germany GmbH
  • elfolion GmbH


Technische Universität Dresden
Fakultät Maschinenwesen
Institut für Textilmaschinen und Textile Hochleistungswerkstofftechnik (ITM)
01062 Dresden


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