Among the novelties showcased at the K show this year in Düsseldorf was the new Dyneema Carbon composite material presented by Netherlands-headquartered DSM, an innovative hybrid solution designed for lightweight performance in a host of different applications. Earlier this week, PlasticsToday caught up with Golnar Motahari Pour, President of DSM Dyneema and responsible for global operations, to talk about the development and potential of the company’s new Dyneema Carbon hybrid composite.
But first, there were a few points that she wanted to make completely clear. One was the reason why DSM Dyneema was able to develop a new product like Dyneema Carbon at all.
“I need to emphasize that DSM Dyneema is absolutely unique: it is the only fiber producer that is integrated both backwards and forwards. That is important because we make the UH powder from which the fiber is made using a gel spinning process,” explained Motahari Pour. She continued: “We have our own technology, which enables us to vary the molecular structure of the UHMwPE fiber, and thus to modify the performance according to the end-use application. We can actually tailor-make solutions.” Hence, when it comes to developing a new product, DSM can customize the fiber to meet whatever requirements for performance have been set.
She also stressed that the new Dyneema Carbon hybrid composite was not the same product as the materials that make up the Dyneema composite fabric family, a 100% flexible Dyneema material based on technology developed by Cubic Tech, a company acquired by Dyneema DSM early in 2015. This fabric is currently used in high performance textiles and apparel – “shoes, jackets,” said Motahari Pour. “And it certainly has potential for industrial applications, and will, in the future, also have its own space in the electronics market. However, the Dyneema Carbon composite materials are something entirely different.”
So, what are they, exactly?
“These materials marry the strengths of carbon fiber and Dyneema,” said Motahari Pour. “The Dyneema fiber used was especially developed for this purpose, and the resulting hybrid composite is a strong, lightweight material with an increase in impact energy absorption of up to 100%.”
DSM Dyneema had been considering the development for a number of years, but, as Motahari Pour explained: “Hybridization wasn’t a trend.” What happened then was that the company was asked by several customers to help them with the problem of brittleness, splintering and vibrations encountered with the use of carbon fibers. She summed up: “Brabo, a brand of field hockey sticks looking for better vibration damping, was one. Another was OMP a producer of steering wheels for sports cars. A third was Toyota Motor sports, who needed a material with a high impact energy absorption for a racing car. Materials which splinter are a danger to the driver and his surroundings in the case of collision.”
Living up to its claim of being a solutions provider, rather than merely a materials vendor, the company got to work on developing a composite material that would be better able to handle impacts and to dampen vibration. “We want to be more