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Cyclics Corporation Demonstrates PBT Thermoplastic Pre-Preg

  • Friday, 5th April 2002
  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

Cyclics Corporation has developed a CBT resin pre-impregnated intermediate product. The CBT based prepreg has tack and drape similar to thermoset pre-impregnated fabrics but becomes a thermoplastic when cured.

Cyclics Corporation is actively seeking marketing partnerships to commercialize this unique product. Cyclics’ CBT based prepregs offer advantages beyond the best attributes of thermoplastic and thermoset prepregs. Unlike thermoset prepregs, CBT prepregs are non-reactive at room temperature thus providing a virtually infinite shelf life and CBT resins do not have an exotherm during polymerization. Like thermoset prepregs, they have tack and drape, enabling them, for example, to be roll wrapped to make golf shafts on conventional “epoxy” prepreg equipment. CBT resin prepregs can also be processed isothermally and de-molded hot, because the CBT resin can melt, polymerize, crystallize and solidify, all at the same temperature.

Additionally, fabricators can use traditional thermoset consumables like nylon vacuum bags and polyester shrink tapes. All this, while retaining all the traditional advantages of a thermoplastic, namely improved impact resistance, ability to be thermoformed, ability to be welded, and multiple recycling options. Manufacturing the prepreg also has advantages with CBT resin with a variety of non-solvent (no VOC’s) methods. First, since the melted CBT has a low viscosity, it has been filmed onto a conventional release liner, and melt processed as many epoxies are today. Secondly, CBT can also be processed below its full-melt temperature and make a film suitable for resin film infusion intermediates. Finally, since CBT is solid at room temperature, various powder deposition methods (e.g. mechanical, electrostatic, or aqueous slurry) have been demonstrated successfully to meter the resin onto a fiber web, and then is melt impregnated to form the prepreg. CBT resin also has broad compatibility with commercially available glass and carbon fiber products.

CBT resin polymerizes into PBT, a well-known thermoplastic resin with over a billion pounds sold worldwide every year. Many automotive and commercial companies are familiar with PBT from injection molding compounds and are comfortable with PBT’s extension to continuous fiber composites made possible with CBT resin. CBT prepregs can be used to make thermoplastic golf shafts, wind turbine blades, medical devices, snowboards, sailboat masts, drive shafts and almost any other products currently made using prepreg.

“It is remarkable how similar the handling characteristics are compared to existing thermoset prepregs allowing CBT prepreg to be a drop-in for many parts manufacturers,” said John Ciovacco, President and CEO of Cyclics Corporation. “We don’t intend to make and sell pre-preg, and are actively developing partnerships with establish pre-impregnated fabric suppliers necessary to commercialize this exciting product.”

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