Graphene-like carbon makes polyolefin foam stiff as steel

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  • Sekisui Chemical develops high stiff, lightweight resin sheet
  • Same stiffness at 1/3 the weight of a steel plate
  • Great freedom of design due to very good thermoforming capabilities

Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd. has developed a layered “high stiff lightweight resin sheet” made from reinforced resin sheets that combine graphene-like carbon and polyolefin foam. The combined characteristics of lightweightness and high stiffness, that cannot be achieved with metals, enable a wide range of applications such as in automotive and transportation.

The features of the “High Stiff Lightweight Resin Sheet”

The developed product has an outer layer of reinforced resin sheets, which combine graphene-like carbon*, and an intermediate layer of polyolefin foam for a 3-layer configuration.

Left: Configuration of high stiff lightweight resin sheet Right: molded samples

Left: Configuration of high stiff lightweight resin sheet Right: molded samples

This layered configuration features both lightweight and high stiffness, and as shown in the graph below, achieves the same stiffness with only 1/3rd the weight of steel plates.

Required weight to achieve the same stiffness

Required weight to achieve the same stiffness

The sheets are available in two forms (Type A and Type B):  The first one weighs 3.5 kg/m2 and focuses on stiffness. The second puts its focus on lightweighting and weighs just 2,2 kg/m2. In this way, it is possible to design a range of properties tailored to the application. The resin materials also feature high shock resistance.

sekisui_tableEasy processing

Furthermore, the main component of the “high stiff lightweight resin sheet” is thermoplastic resin. This enables great freedom of design and the use of conventional heat molding technologies such as press molding or thermoforming.

Sekisui Chemical plans to supply product samples of the “high stiff lightweight resin sheets” in summer of 2015.

*Graphene-like carbon
Academically, graphene is formed by peeling graphite, which is a single molecule sheet comprising sp2 bonded carbon atoms with a thickness of 1 atom. Sekisui Chemical developed nano-composites with high stiffness and very good shock resistance by evenly spreading graphene-like carbon (agglutinated sheets at the nano level with multiple layers of graphene) on a matrix resin. 
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