North Thin Ply Technology Provides Proven Solution for Lightweight Motorsport and Road Car Bodywork

12 May 2015

North Thin Ply Technology Provides Proven Solution for Lightweight Motorsport and Road Car Bodywork

North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT) multi-axial prepreg preforms, suitable for the body panels of motorsport and road car applications, increase performance and reduce manufacturing time and costs. 

According to NTPT, several Formula 1 teams have already been successfully using these Thin Ply Technology (TPT) techniques for the last four seasons. It says there are three major advantages that arise from replacing conventional woven fabrics by multi-axial preforms in body panels:

Unidirectional (UD) prepreg tapes show a better surface appearance compared to woven fabrics, with no weave print through and no pinholes. The lightweight prepreg plies also exhibit much greater resistance to peeling than conventional weight UD prepreg plies. 

The UD prepreg tapes are processed by its proprietary Automated Tape Laying (ATL) machine to make multi-axial preforms deliverable as a roll of material. Preforms can then be cut and draped like conventional prepreg woven fabrics, with the added advantage that body panel manufacturers have only one layer to drape. The improved surface quality reduces preparation time, painting work and the weight of paint. The TPT preforms also offer the opportunity to switch from a two shot to a one shot curing process. These advantages significantly reduce the overall manufacturing cost and cycle time.

TPT prepreg preforms can be designed at the same weight as conventional woven fabrics and then show a 40% higher strength. When weight is an issue, the preforms can also be specified in a lighter weight and still keep the same strength. This second option offers a unique and substantial weight saving opportunity.

NTPT explains that TPT prepreg preform are available with 135°C or 185°C Tg resins to match all kinds of requirements for body panels service temperatures. NTPT holds a stock of multi-axial preforms ready for use by motorsports and road car body panel manufacturers on a short lead and delivery time basis.

Photo supplied by North Thin Ply Technology.

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