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carbon fiber composites ventilation guidelines or approach

carbon fiber composites ventilation guidelines or approach

carbon fiber composites ventilation guidelines or approach

I have been assigned a project to develope some ventilation schemes to control/decrease the exposure of operators from the carbon fibers in the air and resin solvent(VOC's) on some winder type of composites machinery.  Experience reveals that the levels are considered to be of a nuisance nature - although some operators have experienced rashes on their arms presumed to be from the fibers.

Management wants to eliminate/minimize exposure more, if possible.  Equipment is being relocated to another building with a room that has 10 Air Changes per Hour, ACH, which can be made to be 100% Outside Air.  
Local exhaust pickups at recognized carbon fiber generator points can be installed, but may cost a lot because of access restrictions due to crane access needed to place work pieces.

Any other conceptual thoughts for reducing VOC's and fiber exposure?

Thank you

RE: carbon fiber composites ventilation guidelines or approach

Thanks a lot Chris.  
Probably is very good but i don't have membership to the AMCA and get to the technical data on emissions.

Do you know of any other sources that may be good?

RE: carbon fiber composites ventilation guidelines or approach

Hi Bob,
what do you mean by "Experience reveals..."? does this mean that you have had proper air quality sampling done and it is below the OH&S threshold for that chemical/fibre?  If you havent, I would suggest getting one done so that you know where you are sitting currently, you may be well within the limits and are barking up the wrong tree (perhaps protection for sensitive employees is more appropriate?).  Assessments cost money but they let you know where you are at at the moment for a start and they may come back saying you are fine as you are (with respect to standards).  Dont forget to get the OH&S consultants buy in on any initiatives, they are the ones who will put together the overall risk reduction plan including protection, training, work methods etc, it may be easier to improve air quality via those and your ventilation will need to be integrated into the OH&S system for the plant.


RE: carbon fiber composites ventilation guidelines or approach

Thanks for your input -

As usual the stew is better if you just let it cook long enough to get a decent taste test and add some needed ingredients.

It appears to me after further discussions that the VOC's are not the major culprit after all but the generation of carbon fibers by the winding machines when the carbon fibers are fed to the winder machine and a direction change is required.  Small broken fibers are created from the carbon thread being delivered to the winder. All such turns are minimized now but there are still a few points that generate these fibers. The fibers are generally 1/4 inch to 1 inch long and can float in the air like dust particles - breathable easily entrained in clothing, hair on the skin and the crooks and crannies near the generation points.

Localized collection at these points is being developed using some commercially available fume capture systems for soldering tables or work stations. It appears we have a workable path forward.

Best Regards,

RE: carbon fiber composites ventilation guidelines or approach

You need the ventilation at the source of the contaminants instead of ventilating the whole room which will still expose the workers to about the same level of contaminants.

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