Successful increase in the strength of carbon fiber reinforced plastics using cellulose nanofibers

Carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs), which are light and extremely strong, are materials of interest that were first put into practical use, such as in golf club shafts and fishing rods, and their usage has expanded into industrial applications, including aircraft and automobiles, since the 1990s. Mizuno has already launched various products made of CFRPs, such as golf clubs with CFRP shafts.

Cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) are one of Japan's world-leading nanomaterials. They are plant-derived but have properties such as being lightweight, highly strong, highly elastic, and a low level of linear expansion. They were seen to have promise in contributing to achieving a sustainable society due to their low environmental impact, from the viewpoint of achieving the SDGs. However, CNFs have self-cohesion properties unique to nanomaterials and it is difficult to mix or combine them with petroleum-based materials, which became a barrier to the expansion of their applications, and it was difficult to consider a combination of CNFs and CFRPs for the same reason.

In research and development at the Advanced Bio-carbons Consortium (ABC Consortium), where Japanese universities and companies collaborate to conduct R&D, Bunshi Fugetsu, Project Professor, of the Institute for Future Initiatives , the University of Tokyo, and Mizuno have succeeded in increasing the strength of CFRPs, by combining them with TEMPO-oxidized CNFs, developed by Akira Isogai, University Professor, the Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences , the University of Tokyo.

These CFRPs with improved strength, made by being combined with environmentally friendly CNFs, are expected to reduce CO2 emissions during transport and application, as their improved durability will reduce the amount used in products and reduce waste, and lead to the creation of lighter products.

CFRPs are also likely to contribute to the development of sports equipment that will help achieve new records in the field of athletic competition, such as shorter times, improved distances, and increased speeds, and be used in various business fields and the field of health.

Mizuno will pursue high functionality and reduce environmental impact through the power of sports,and is committed to achieving new innovations and passing on an environment where people can enjoy playing sports to future generations.