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BASF and the SGL Group plan to jointly develop a composite material based on a reactive polyamide system and suitable carbon fibres, serving the cost-effective production of thermoplastic carbon fibre-reinforced composites.
The material system is intended for use in the T-RTM process (Thermoplastic Resin Transfer Moulding) as well as the reactive injection moulding process, and permits considerably shorter processing cycles than conventional thermosetting RTM. The adjustment of the material system to these faster processing techniques plays a major role for the entry of light and high-strength structural components made of carbon fibre composites into automotive mass production.
As a producer of polyamide and caprolactam, a precursor of polyamide, BASF is contributing its competence in the development of new polymer matrix systems. The SGL Group is utilising its material expertise along the carbon fibre value-added chain and in high-temperature processes.
“To achieve good wetting of the fibre and short cycle times in T-RTM or reactive injection moulding, we start from low-viscosity highly reactive caprolactam formulations”, explains Dr. Martin Jung, Head of Structural Materials Research and spokesman for BASF Research toward the automotive industry.
In order to attain an optimal bonding of the polyamide to the fibre, BASF explains that the new matrix systems require that a suitable carbon fibre surface treatment, the so-called finish, will be developed. Dr. Hubert Jäger, Head of Technology & Innovation, SGL Group said “It is only with a custom-formulated finish that this optimal bonding can form and the carbon fibres transmit their unique stiffness and strength properties fully to the part. On the basis of our many years of industrial experience, we are able to optimise processes and materials along the entire value-added chain of carbon fibre technology for new applications.”
Both BASF and SGL are exhibiting at the Composites Europe Show this week in Dusseldorf, Germany. BASF can be found at stand 8b A2 and SGL can be found at 8b A32.
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