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Thermoformable Sandwich Panel Developed with Polystrand Reinforcement

19 November 2006

Polystrand have developed a new sandwich panel made with a proprietary thermoformable foam core and advanced continuous fibre reinforcement.

Trademarked Poly-Kore by High Impact Technology (HIT), the panels are made with Polystrand ThermoPro continuous advanced fibre reinforcement on the outside and a HIT polyolefin foam core in the middle.

“The combination has a strength-to-weight ratio that is very good and we can thermal form the result into all kinds of shapes, said Monk. “Poly-Kore panels are ultra strong and ultra light and the ability to thermal form them together makes a production medium that is really user friendly.”

HIT has a patent pending for the process of combining the two components.

“This is yet another creative application of Polystrand material,” said Ed Pilpel, president of Polystrand. “Having a fully consolidated continuous fiber and thermoplastic combination has enabled all kinds of possibilities for very strong and very light materials. Poly-Kore panels are the latest example of this and it will be interesting to see what designers and engineers will be able to do with this new sandwich panel.”

Russ Monk, Director of Operations at High Impact Technology, said he was pleasantly surprised by the number of benefits he found in the Poly-Kore foam and continuous fibre panels. “It takes very little pressure to mould the panels and we actually shape parts with a cold tool,” he said. “We heat the panels outside the mould and then use the mould to shape and cool the parts. We found we can also embed fasteners or other hardware into the moulded panels,” he continued. “To embed hardware we heat the component and place it on the moulded part. The hardware melts its way into place in the part and the material around it densifies it becomes stronger where the fixture is attached.

Even though his company has applied for patent protection on key processes, Monk said he does not intend to hide the techniques he has learned while working with the panels. The company is teaming up with materials distributor Composites One to form a centre of excellence and teach others how to process the panels.

Physical property testing on Poly-Kore panels is underway at Polystrand. Technicians there are performing three-point bend tests with various amounts of reinforcement material over the core. Barrier is also performing physical property tests on the core material and for screw retention.