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Chomarat Awarded for its Carbon Innovations

  • Tuesday, 30th October 2012
  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

Chomarat has won a JEC Innovation Award in the carbon category for its C-PLY Bi-Angle and will be awarded during the 1st JEC Americas show on November 7 – 9, 2012.

C-PLY Bi-Angle is a carbon reinforcement that Chomarat explains allows the production of composites 30% lighter than traditional carbon fibre composites. Chomarat will be present at JEC Americas show in Boston, stand E34.

According to Chomarat, the current market demand for weight reduction is related to both environmental and performance requirements worldwide. In response, it has developed C-PLY Bi-Angle in partnership with Stanford University, US, Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics and Hanyang University, Korea, Department of Mechanical Engineering. It consists of an unbalanced thin ply bi-axial carbon reinforcement (non-crimp fabric or NCF) contributing to both weight and composite processing cost reductions.

Chomarat has a three-step manufacturing process for lighter, cheaper and tougher composites which includes:

  • Spreading: achieving an individual ply weight of 75g/m² requires a skilled proprietary spreading process consisting of laying the yarns flat and straight with uniform tension before spreading them to form a ply that is uniform in fibre dispersion, weight, width and thickness.
  • Ply forming: performed on a multi-axial machine, but instead of laying down the yarns as in the standard technique, UD plies are placed on top of one another in the desired directions. Obtaining shallow angles (20-30 degrees) required the design of new machine kinematics.
  • Combining: this final step ties the plies together and consolidates the fabric laminate. It is based on a very fine stitch designed to reduce the impact of foreign materials and the creation of voids to the largest possible extent.

The use of C-PLY with an asymmetrical construction (0/ѳ where ѳ ranges from 20 to 30 degrees) results in laminate values that are impossible to achieve with unidirectional plies that have quasi-orthotropic angles (0, ± 45, 90 deg.).

American Artisan Bicycles is the first carbon bicycle manufacturer to use Chomarat’s C-PLY Bi- Angle Carbon NCF to produce innovative carbon road racing bicycles in the USA. C-PLY Bi-Angle is key to producing carbon frames under 800 grams without strength compromises, while maintaining excellent ride characteristics.

It all started in October 2010 when Michel Cognet, Chomarat Group managing director, met Professor Steven Tsai and Professor Sung Ha at JEC Asia. In this meeting came the idea to incorporate the new composite laminate they were developing into a multiaxial product form. Chomarat readily accepted the challenge to convert a mass-production tool into a unique manufacturing process for a new range of multiaxial materials, and therefore committed to turning Professor Tsai’s theory into an industrial reality.

One year later, the first tests carried out on different processes (prepreg, pultrusion and resin film infusion) have met and exceeded the theoretical expectations. C-PLY is suitable for all lamination techniques, including hand lay-up, LRI, RFI, RTM, VARTM and prepreg. Chomarat says it can be used with all types of fibres including carbon, E-glass, S2-glass and aramid.

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