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Continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic gets performance boost

A continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic from Lanxess (Cologne, Germany) now boasts more process flexibility with the ability for the continuous fiber layers to be oriented at almost any angle in the thermoplastic matrix.

A continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic from Lanxess (Cologne, Germany) now boasts more process flexibility with the ability for the continuous fiber layers to be oriented at almost any angle in the thermoplastic matrix.

Continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic now offers more forming freedom.
It is even possible to achieve quasi-isotropic lay-ups. "The designer can now orient the layers of continuous fibers precisely to the flow of forces in the part. The resulting composite components are designed with great precision to suit the load, and are therefore lightweight," said Dr. Christian Obermann, also Managing Director at Lanxess affiliate Bond-Laminates (Brilon, Germany). The new semi-finished products marketed under the Tepex line offer a great deal of forming freedom. Bond-Laminates uses special nesting programs to cut them into pre-contoured inserts for its customers so as to ensure minimal offcuts.

The product is on show at Composites Europe, being held 7th to 9th October in Düsseldorf, Germany. "Our intention is to highlight the enormous potential for lightweight design opened up by our composites. To this end, we are showcasing a number of examples from lightweight design in automobiles, sports equipment such as soccer boots, and housing components for the consumer electronics industry," explained Jochen Bauder, Managing Director at Bond-Laminates.

New polyamide 6 for overmolding Tepex

A hybrid technology that employs Tepex with polyamide 6 as an overmolding material has already conquered a large number of series applications in the lightweight design of automobiles according to Lanxess. Examples exhibited at the trade fair include a seat shell, a brake pedal and an infotainment carrier. Durethan BKV 55 TPX, a new polyamide 6 reinforced with 55 percent short glass fibers and optimized for overmolding Tepex, was also introduced. "It has particularly good flow properties while also exhibiting outstanding mechanical attributes. It also offers a large processing window and forms a material bond with Tepex," said Dr. Martin Wanders, head of global applications development in the High Performance Materials (HPM) business unit at Lanxess. It reportedly has particularly good potential for very thin-walled lightweight composite parts with large flow length/wall-thickness ratios.

Alternative to polypropylene in the DLFT process

In another development, Lanxess has developed an alternative to polypropylene (PP) in the DLFT (Direct Long Fiber Thermoplastics) process. Compared to conventional polyamide 6-based long-fiber compression molding compounds, the melt of this heat-stabilized material (Durethan B 24 CM H2.0; previously Durethan TP 173-007) reportedly exhibits much better flow properties. It can also reportedly be processed fume-free at extrusion temperatures of 280-300 °C.

Furthermore, unlike PP, the material can withstand the drying temperatures that follow cathodic dip painting (CDP). At Composites Europe, Lanxess is showcasing a trunk recess for a German sports car that was manufactured using this material on a standard production tool for polypropylene-based GMT (glass-mat-reinforced thermoplastic).

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