Advanced Engineering 2018

Solvay’s New Omnix HPPA Long Glass Fibre Grades Overcome Demanding Metal Replacement Challenges

14 March 2017

Solvay is expanding its portfolio of specialty polymers with the introduction of Omnix LF-4050 and Omnix LF-4060, two high-performance polyamides (HPPA) with long fibre glass content of 50 and 60 percent respectively.

According to Solvay, these materials are ideally suited for a realm of applications subjected to permanent load or operating conditions where metal is still prevalent.

Omnix HPPA is used in applications where the high temperature or hydrolytic stability performance limits of PA66 are reached. The new Omnix LF grades also overcome these limitations and are an important addition to the existing portfolio of Solvay’s high performance polyamides.

Both Omnix LF-4050 and Omnix LF-4060 offer cost and performance benefits against metal for components under permanent load or severe operating environments in a wide variety of markets including advanced transportation, automotive, household appliances, sports and leisure, and mechanical and industrial engineering. The new Omnix LF grades can be obtained in natural and black and are commercially available worldwide.

“Metal substitution has entered a new phase. There is a growing demand for plastics capable of reaching beyond the current performance barriers of optimised short-fibre filled thermoplastics without sacrificing design freedom, processing efficiency and surface quality,” explains Dr. Eric Martin, Global Business Development Manager - Long Fibre Thermoplastics at Solvay’s Specialty Polymers Global Business Unit. “LFT technology answers these needs and is today accepted as a viable replacement for metal die castings and assemblies. There is no doubt that applying LFT technology to our Solvay polymer portfolio extends the lightweighting potential of established injection molding materials. This strategy will allow us to meet corrosion and weight reduction challenges for components with very high technical requirements in terms of stiffness retention at elevated temperatures, impact strength and fatigue/creep resistance.”

Solvay explains that the LFT technology is characterised by the formation of an entangled, three-dimensional long-fibre skeleton in the finished moulded parts. This feature provides a unique combination of stiffness and toughness and outstanding dimensional stability while inhibiting crack propagation.

When comparing the properties of standard reinforced Omnix products, it says the ductility of Omnix LF grades shows up to 350 percent higher notched and multiaxial impact strength while preserving material stiffness. Such gains would be impossible to achieve with conventional impact modified compounds, where the elastomeric nature of the impact modifier generally decreases the stiffness of the material.

Omnix LF grades also exhibit high property retention under the influence of heat and moisture. When compared with standard glass filled HPPA, the LFT technology offers a stiffness improvement of 10 to 15 percent at 23°C (73°F), which rises to 85 percent at 120°C (248°F), far beyond the glass transition temperature of the matrix resin.

Furthermore, Solvay claims that Omnix LF grades drastically outperform short-fibre HPPA materials in creep resistance under high loads at high temperature, demonstrating the advantages of the entangled long fibre skeleton created within the parts. “Such benefits for long term performance are of prime importance when developing reliable polymer solutions for permanently loaded components across a wide variety of markets,” adds Dr. Eric Martin. “Interestingly, both new grades exhibit very low warpage and remain hot-water mouldable.”

Solvay is currently applying LFT technology to other specialty polymers including long fibre filled Amodel polyphthalamide (PPA), Ixef polyarylamide (PARA), and Ryton polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), and is thereby proposing a unique range of solutions with high value-added properties while maintaining cost-affordable processing technologies such as injection moulding.


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