Carbon fiber is a long, thin strand of material that contains over 90 % of carbon by weight. The raw material used to make carbon fiber is known as the precursor. Carbon fibers are obtained by pyrolysis of an appropriate precursor fiber. Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) is the predominant precursor for carbon fiber due to a superior strength and stability, and higher carbon yield. PAN-based carbon fiber is widely used in many industries such as aviation, aerospace, sporting goods, and construction.
Because PAN decomposes before melting, it is necessary to make a spinning solution or dope solution with a solvent in order to be able to spin the material into a fiber. Vaisala K-PATENTS® Process Refractometer PR-43-GP monitors in-line the concentration of solvent at different stages of the process.
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