08 October 2013
08 October 2013
PlastiComp, based in Minnesota, US, has signed a partnership agreement with Royal DSM to develop bio-based Long Fibre Thermoplastic (LFT) composite materials for the automotive and other performance-driven markets.
Central to this partnership is DSM’s commitment to sustainability—in this case with its EcoPaXX polyamide 410, 70% derived from renewable resources—and PlastiComp’s expertise in LFT composites design and manufacturing. Initial compounding, moulding and testing of carbon-fibre reinforced EcoPaXX was successful in establishing benchmark composites for high-temperature (up to 200°C) and structural applications.
The companies say the LFT composites they are co-developing, —which include compounds reinforced with glass fibre as well as carbon fibre, have an excellent Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) score, thanks to the carbon neutral cradle-to-gate footprint of the EcoPaXX polymer. These composites are well suited to weight optimisation efforts in the automotive industry for fuel savings and lowered emissions.
The two partner companies will also collaborate with potential customers to design injection-molded composite parts. They will employ computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools to ensure optimised fibre architecture to meet stringent requirements for dimensional tolerances, surface finish and high-temperature properties.
While the principal focus of the partnership is on automotive applications, composites that DSM and PlastiComp are developing are also attractive in other metal-replacement applications. Grades can, for example, leverage material characteristics such as electro-magnetic interference (EMI) shielding for electronics, and radiolucency in X-Ray applications, thereby enhancing the value of light-weight, high performance, metal substitutions.
The American Composites Manufacturers Association participated in a roundtable discussion about the IMAGINE Act. Known as the Innovative Materials in American Growth and Infrastructure, Newly Expanded (IMAGINE) Act, the new bill is designed to promote the increased use of innovative materials like fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites, as well as new manufacturing methods to accelerate the deployment and extend the life of infrastructure projects.
After the collapse of a drinking water pipeline in downtown Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Insituform was contracted to reline a close to 100 year old pipe underneath one of the canals. Water was restored successfully within five days, with minimal impact on traffic and the environment.
Australian organisations Austrak, Laing O’Rourke and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) have joined forces to develop polymer composite solutions for bridge transoms in a $10 million project titled Polymer Composite Transoms for Rail Bridge Deck Replacement (CompTrans).