Phoenixx TPC has introduced a new lower cost line of Polyetherimide (Ultem) composite prepreg tape based on a new proprietary and patented prepreg process. The new PEI/Ultem prepreg process yields a significantly lower cost of manufacture than previous solvenated type systems and ground Ultem powder type systems. Additionally, the new process does not use environmentally unfriendly solvents or plasticizers that can create problems and add costs in manufacturing the prepreg tape as well as cause problems with trapped VOC’s during molding or processing the thermoplastic prepreg. The new process is amenable to manufacturing prepreg using any number of reinforcing fibers and can be used with both Ultem 1000 and the newer Ultem 5000 resin systems. Phoenixx anticipates that it can now price Ultem prepreg less than $30.00/lb ($66.00/kg) using commercial grade carbon fibers. Ultem prepreg prices based on military/aerospace grade carbon fibers would be somewhat higher and prices based on glass fibers would be somewhat lower.
Commenting on the new prepreg tape, David Park, President of Phoenixx TPC, stated, “”This is a very important breakthrough in the development of lower cost thermoplastic prepregs utilizing PEI (Ultem) resins. It will enable us to respond to the numerous requests we have received from the oil & gas, automotive, aerospace, and military/defense industries, among others, for lower cost Ultem based prepregs.””
Mr. Park further stated, “”This process is very robust and can use a wide variety of reinforcing fibers. It also has the potential to produce thermoplastic composite sheet molding compounds from precursors such as glass or carbon mat.””
The lower cost of the new prepreg tapes can help to greatly expand the use of Ultem resins in thermoplastic composite applications. Combining the excellent mechanical properties and superior high temperature capability of Ultem resin with the lower cost prepreg process should greatly expand the possible market applications for these materials. Ultem is a registered trademark of the General Electric Company
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