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Safety Precaution for Handling of Carbon Fiber

  The contents of this clause might not be applied to all carbon fiber. Please inquire the member company about the handling of their products.

Properties of Carbon Fibers

1. Properties

  1. As Carbon Fibers are very fine in nature and moreover easily breakable by stretching (by less than 2% elongation), the fibers can easily be made fuzz. Being crushed and shortened in unit length, staple tends to become fly or dusts with ease and dispersed into atmosphere.
  2. As most Carbon Fibers have high elastic modulus and are very fine in nature, micro fiber is occasionally allergic to human skins or mucous membranes causing pain or itch. Their Carbon Fiber users are advised to be careful not to dispose naked skins to the fibers and to take deliberate dusts cleaning measures naked skins.
  3. As Carbon Fibers have electric conductivity, fly or waste yarn can cause a short-circuit at electric lines.
  4. As Carbon Fibers are solid-structured carbon and consequently are hard to be burned. In incinerating Carbon Fiber products wastes, Carbon Fiber users are recommended to carefully collect unburned staple dusts to avoid possible electric troubles.
  5. As carbon itself is thought to have good compatibility with human body tissues, Carbon Fibers or composites of the fibers are largely used as artificial human body parts.

2. Handling Precautions

Necessary precautions compiled through past experiences are as follows.

  1. Prevention of generating plumage, dust and fly
    1. Troubles brought about by handling of Carbon Fibers are mainly caused by fuzz, dusts or fly generated during the handling of the fibers. As Carbon Fiber staple products are more or less fly-like, local air exhaustion is effective for avoiding any trouble during unpacking, taking out of packing or processing of the material. The identical measures are advisable in cutting down long continuous yarn to produce chopped fiber or in crushing the same to produce milled.
    2. If guides rub long continuous yarn in pulling out the yarn from bobbins, fuzz is generated or fly is generated in the case of breaking of the yarn. Use of less number of guides, use of rolling guides or applying lower tension to the yarn are altogether effective for reducing fuzz, fly or dusts.
    3. Making of woven textiles, braid, knit textiles, stitched preforms or punch-felts generates fuzz, dusts or fly as the yarn is stripped off or scrubbed. JCMA would suggest Carbon Fiber users having a local air ventilator working at any time to remove them.
    4. The first and foremost thing to be done for securing safety and labor health, and for accidents prevention as well is frequent dust cleaning and securing of air cleanness. Electric cleaners for household may be short-circuited by dusts. JCMA would recommend using an air ejector type cleaner instead.
  2. Prevention of hazards to human body
  3. Being presented that Carbon Fiber yarn is "tough", peoples sometime try to tear off the yarn to make sure of that. Rather often, fingers or palms, instead of the yarn, are damaged. Please be warned that it is a hazardous challenge.

    1. Sticking to skins
    2. Only by soft touching of dusts or fly to skins, one may feel pains or itch. Never try to "rubbing off". As a string of Carbon Fiber is just like a metal fine wire or pin, the dust penetrates into the skins more deeply causing the secondary inflammations.
      The best way is washing out a local skin by cold or hot water; pouring running water on with a help of soap. Another effective way is to make puffing by a strip of bundle tape or sticking tape. Itchy feeling on skins does usually not stay for long time.
      The stuck fiber will leave off skins in half a day. Coating protective cream on the skin is also recommendable particularly effective to be protected from high elastic modulus Carbon Fibers.

    3. Eyes and throats
    4. The last but by no means least thing is to protect eyes and throats from Carbon Fiber dusts. Workers ought to wear goggles and masks to prevent the dust penetration.
      In case of bad feeling on the eyes, it is recommended to consult with an eye-doctor immediately.

  4. Electric facilities troubles and electric shocks
  5. When airborne fiber penetrates into switches or control equipment, short circuits may take place. JCMA does recommend to keep purging of electric equipment by clean air always going and to insulate connection points of wires and cables by painting or by insulation tapes. When Carbon Fiber processors put electronics equipment or PCs into a room where Carbon Fiber dusts are suspending, do protect these equipment by putting them into plastic boxes and by keeping the boxes pressurized by clean air.
    A yarn string sticking to a plug may cause electric shocks to a human body or short-circuits at electric lines when the plug is inserted into an electric outlet. Workers ought to wear a pair of protection globes and clean out a plug before putting into an outlet particularly in the case of high voltage lines 200v or higher. JCMA does recommend not to handle Carbon Fibers in a room where glass fiber products for electric insulators are processed.

3. MSDS of Carbon Fiber

Carbon Fiber is not categorized as hazardous material according to Japanese laws. Outlined descriptions of suggested MSDS for handling Carbon Fibers yarn prepared in compliance with the Japan Chemical Industries Association's guidelines are as follows. Carbon Fiber users should observe an MSDS issued by respective Carbon Fiber manufacturers. An MSDS dose not guarantee safety. A MSDS shall be carefully referred to in drawing up manuals, standards and regulations for each respective processing work of a Carbon Fiber processor. Currently societies put keen attentions on possible hazards that may be caused by newly developed chemicals and by micro quantity chemical additives. In view of the facts that Carbon Fibers are used as a composite material with other resins particularly with epoxy resin, Carbon Fiber users may as well take note on various regulations controlling chemical substances.

4. Emergency Care-taking

  1. Eyes: After removing contact lenses if any, wash out eyes by clean running water for more than 15 minutes.
  2. Skins: Wash out by warm or cold running water with a help of soap. A strip of sticking tape also works effectively.
  3. Inhalation: Wash out mouths immediately under clean fresh air.
  4. Swallowing: Swallow large quantity of water and vomit.
    IIn each of above cases, immediate treatments by medical doctors are necessary if and when any abnormal syndrome remains.

5. Handling and Storing

  1. Handling: Wear protection gears of skins, eyes and throats to prevent them from hazards of Carbon Fiber dusts or fly .
    Work out preventive measures for short-circuits of electric lines caused by the dust or fly.
  2. Storing: Avoid storing under the sunshine and in warm and wet environment. Though Carbon Fiber itself dose not deteriorate, packing material, paper rolls and sizing agents degenerate.
    Some types of Carbon Fiber may be gradually oxidized by atmospheric oxygen under temperature higher than 150 degree C and so generated heat piles up to possibly cause fire. Kindly refer to manufacturers' MSDS.

6. Physical and Chemical Properties

  1. Appearances, Shape and Color
  2. Flash point: None
  3. Ignitibility: Some of general purpose grades treated under temperature lower than 150 degree C may gradually oxidized by atmospheric air and so generated heat piles up to heat up the fiber red hot. Kindly refer to manufacturers' MSDS in this point. None of high mechanical strength and high elasticity grades has been found flammable.
  4. Explosiveness: None even under as high as 1200g/m3.
  5. Explosiveness of Suspended Dust: No data is available.

7. Stability and Reactivity

  1. Flammability: Though Carbon Fiber is constituted of carbon which is flammable, the fiber itself dose not flare up even if ignited by flame of match or gas burners. If heated up higher than 400 degree C together with some fuel, the fiber slowly burns (oxidized) but stops burning right after the burning fuel is removed. In this aspect, Carbon Fiber is categorized as "incombustible" under the Building Code of Japan.
  2. Reactivity: Carbon Fiber does not react with any agent except for strong oxidation agents.
  3. Others: Carbon Fiber has electric conductivity and can cause short-circuits at electric lines.

8. Disposal

  1. Carbon Fiber wastes should be regarded as "Industrial Wastes" but not "Household Wastes" and is categorized as "Plastics Wastes".
  2. Local governments may have their own local codes by which disposing of Carbon Fiber wastes is governed.
  3. Incineration by incinerators is not practical, as Carbon Fiber wastes do not burn out in conventional furnaces. Just if thrown into a furnace equipped with an electric dust collector, unburned fine fiber (fly) causes short-circuits troubles.

9. Transportation

Water soaked Carbon Fiber and bursting of packaging bags bring about troublesome problems. Just if staple fibers like chopped fibers spill out of a packaging, carefully collect the spilled fiber into a container and dispose it as "Industrial Wastes" as mentioned in above item 8.

10. Other useful information

Below please find listed up databases describing hazardous chemical substances.

  1. Chemical Products Information Databases by Japan Chemical Industries Association:http://www.jcia-net.or.jp/
  2. Information on Chemical Substances (by National Drags and Foods Hygienic Laboratory):http://www.nihs.go.jp
  3. Products Safety Datasheets by Petrochemical Industry Association: http://www.jpca.or.jp
  4. Where to find MSDS on the internetht:http://www.ilpi.com
  5. MSDS Search:http://www.msdssearch.com
  6. MSDS pages of OSHWEB:http://www.oshweb.org