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Huntsman Advanced Materials has been supporting Swiss pre-impregnated materials specialist North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT) to produce ultra-thin prepreg components on a Richard Mille luxury watch case.
NTPT designs and manufactures ultra-thin prepregs for high performance composites applications. According to Huntsman, the business offers unique spread tow and associated prepregging techniques to manufacture uni-directional prepreg tapes processed with thermoset resins, which can be as thin as a third of a human hair in diameter.
Huntsman explains that the watch cases are made from thick blocks of 400 thin ply of ThinPreg carbon fibre uni-directional tape, pre-impregnated with an epoxy resin matrix system based on building blocks (resin, toughener and hardener) selected with its support. Because of the ultra-thin interply thickness, the autoclave cured block can be considered as a one phase material which is machinable (drillable, millable) in the same way as metal.
Huntsman says it was selected by NTPT for the combination of building blocks for this particular application, and specifically for their ability to meet the necessary criteria required for manufacturing ultra-thin prepreg tapes, as well as their filament bearing properties and the resulting resistance to delamination and crack propagation, which provides the cured uni-directional tapes with outstanding machinability behaviour.
Gilles Rocher, Sales & Marketing Manager, NTPT, said, “Both the reinforcement material and matrix system play an equally important role in achieving the right balance of desired properties. Matching process to performance was key to the success of this project. Thanks to the excellent product recommendations and ongoing technical support received from Huntsman, we have been able to achieve our goals in applying prepregs to deliver the highest level of quality within an extremely durable and lightweight watch case that is built to last.”
Photo provided by Huntsman Advanced Materials.
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