SGL Group and BASF conclude joint research of innovative polyamide-carbon-fiber composite system; transfer into automotive applications under way
09 March 2015
SGL Group and the chemical company BASF have concluded their joint research effort into a new composite material system. This collaboration between SGL Group and BASF was launched back in October 2012. On the basis of the now-complete material research, the transfer of the special systems made from carbon fibers and matrices into specific applications of customers in the automotive industry is now under way.
The system aims at enhancing the cost-effectiveness of manufacturing thermoplastic carbon-fiber composites, for example in injection procedures (T-RTM: thermoplastic resin transfer molding) and reaction injection molding.
The composite is based on a reactive polyamide system and compatible carbon fibers. A carbon-fiber surface—or sizing—specially designed for the matrix system as well as tailored thermoplastic reactive systems mean that lightweight structural components can now be manufactured quickly and easily.
As part of this collaborative project, SGL Group developed a new sizing formulation for the carbon fibers. In addition, special processes for manufacturing carbon-fiber-based textiles such as fabrics and braidings were also developed. To produce Non-Crimp-Fabrics (NCF), special threads are used that enable processing in the reactive polyamide system.
BASF’s role in this project was to process SGL Group’s newly developed carbon fibers using the T-RTM technique and to characterize them comprehensively both chemically and mechanically. The BASF research team is continuing to work intensively on the development of caprolactam-based thermoplastic reactive systems.
Thermoplastics-based carbon-fiber composites combine the properties of carbon fibers such as high rigidity and low weight with the familiar processing advantages of thermoplastics, allowing them to be formed, recycled and welded. This helps make carbon fiber technology an even more viable proposition for large-scale production in a number of different applications.