DSM partners with PlastiComp to develop bio-based long fiber thermoplastic (LFT) composites based on EcoPaXX
2 October 2013
Royal DSM has signed a partnership agreement with PlastiComp, Inc., based in Winona, Minnesota, to develop new innovative bio-based Long Fiber Thermoplastic (LFT) composite materials for the automotive and other performance-driven markets.
Central to this partnership is DSM’s EcoPaXX polyamide 410, 70% derived from renewable resources and PlastiComp’s expertise in LFT composites design and manufacturing. Initial compounding, molding and testing of carbon-fiber reinforced EcoPaXX was successful in establishing benchmark composites for high-temperature (up to 200 °C) and structural applications.
The LFT composites DSM is co-developing with PlastiComp—which include compounds reinforced with glass fiber as well as carbon fiber—have an much improved Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) score, due to the carbon neutral cradle-to-gate footprint of the EcoPaXX polymer. These composites are well-suited to weight optimization efforts in the automotive industry for fuel savings and lowered emissions.
The two partner companies will also collaborate with potential customers to design injection-molded composite parts. They will employ computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools to ensure optimized fiber architecture to meet stringent requirements for dimensional tolerances, surface finish and high-temperature properties.
While the principal focus of the partnership is on automotive applications, composites that DSM and PlastiComp are developing are also attractive in other metal-replacement applications. Grades can, for example, leverage material characteristics such as electro-magnetic interference (EMI) shielding for electronics, and radiolucency in X-Ray applications, thereby enhancing the value of light-weight, high performance, metal substitutions.
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