ICC Philosophy and Objectives - Message from the Director

Dramatic spread of carbon fiber composites will change society and lives

The philosophy of the Innovative Composite Materials Research and Development Center (ICC) is to collaborate with enterprises to support applied technology research and product development to achieve broader utilization of composite materials in a greater number of fields.

Simply speaking, combining fibers and resins just produces materials. But to produce composite materials that achieve both performance and cost competitiveness, decide which raw materials to use, what form they should take and how to go about it, it is necessary to develop composite technologies for everything from materials to design, manufacturing technologies, and even manufacturing equipment. More than just providing a venue for joint development though, what is essential is an environment where all researchers can exchange information, from basic research to product development, in close collaboration.

ICC aims to achieve cross-industrial, interdisciplinary technology integration through joint research with many universities and enterprises, and while sharing knowledge and technologies for using composite materials throughconcrete applied research and product development, it also aims to create new markets.

Kiyoshi Uzawa, Director
Innovative Composite MaterialsResearch and Development Center

Background: Potential and marketability as a material

Carbon fiber composite material is an innovative material Japan has produced. Its strength is about 10 times that of steel, yet one-fourth of the weight. Its strong, lightweight and corrosion resistance properties create a new value which could not be achieved by conventional iron and aluminum. With applications in infrastructure, such as bridges and tunnels, pipes for deep-sea drilling, and sails of vessels, carbon fiber has groundbreaking potential.

Japan produces and provides 70% of carbon fiber and is undoubtedly a world leader in the carbon-fiber market. However, the U.S. and Europe lead the world on application technology-Japanese production volume of carbon fiber products is less than 10% of the global volume. This is the reality. This means that if Japanese companies improve commercialization and application in the market in addition to the high productivity and quality management of this material, there is a huge market waiting even in areas where the applications of this material are already in progress. Furthermore, we believe that if the workability of this material is improved and the technology on enlargement make progress, this material has the potential to step into a variety of new areas, with limitless market potential.

ICC's Direction - Support from basic research to commercialization and disclosing research results

Today, composite materials with carbon fiber are still made by hand, one by one. In a sense, it’s reminiscent of blacksmiths in the Edo era working on iron. Now is the time to conduct applied research to give shape to this material that has been developed, and turn it into actual objects.

ICC is working on technologies and methods to efficiently make actual parts or products from carbon fiber composites, with their excellent properties. It is essential to have techniques for making large parts, as well as for low-cost mass production. While this kind of technological innovation may not be glamorous, it would have a significant effect on society.
ICC will bring innovation of intellectual production through cross-industrial interdisciplinary technology integration by providing an open research environment and carry out R&D leading to innovation within society. This interdisciplinary research involves not only research institutions, but also organizations such as companies aiming at commercialization, and local and national government that supports industry vitalization. In addition, we will actively disclose our research results to the public as a public research institution.

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