Long glass+carbon fiber thermoplastic composite range expanded

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  • Now also available in polypropylene (PP) and engineered thermoplastic polyurethane (ETPU)
  • Ready-to-mold composite pellets
  • Filling the price gap between long glass fiber and long carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites

PlastiComp, Inc. has commercialized its hybrid long glass+carbon fiber composites in two additional thermoplastic polymer matrices. The products, which combine long glass fiber and long carbon fiber together in a single, ready-to-mold composite pellet, are now available in polypropylene (PP) and engineered thermoplastic polyurethane (ETPU). Last year the composites were initially introduced in nylon 6/6 (PA 6/6).

Filling the price gap between long glass fiber and long carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites

“PlastiComp’s hybrid long glass+carbon fiber products nicely fill the performance and price gap that exists between long glass fiber and long carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites,” said Steve Bowen, president and CEO of PlastiComp. “Carbon fiber’s higher cost is the only real disadvantage preventing its wider use. By offering long glass and carbon fiber combinations we are able to significantly lower carbon fiber’s cost to entry barrier without compromising its high performance benefits.”

Hybrids provide more material options for product designers

A wide performance spectrum can be covered with long glass+carbon fiber hybrids. For instance, if durability is a concern PlastiComp can formulate a product that has more long glass fiber to improve impact resistance. If higher load carrying ability is needed then products that include additional long carbon fiber to increase stiffness and strength can be formulated. Hybrids provide a lot more material options for product designers and engineers to better balance performance versus cost instead of having just all-glass or all-carbon reinforcement choices, according to the company.

Focus on automotive to replace metal and LFT-PP

The automotive sector has been adopting long glass fiber polypropylene for a couple of decades because it offers a significant weight reduction compared to traditional metal components. To meet increasing fuel economy regulations they still need to go lighter, but LFT-PP can not get any stronger and jumping straight to carbon fiber is a bold economic step for a price-sensitive industry. Using long glass+carbon hybrids carbon fiber in small increments can be incorporated to achieve the performance needed to switch more components from metal to plastic while keeping material costs reasonable.

Carbon fiber adds perceived value to products

In consumer and sporting goods markets, carbon fiber has become synonymous with ‘high tech’ and its use adds perceived value to products enabling many to demand a price premium. Including low levels of carbon fiber creates a legitimate ‘carbon fiber composite’ and can be used to upsell products or differentiate them from competitors whose products might not be seen as high quality because they are made from lower performing materials.

The company will deliver a presentation, “Hybrid Long Fiber Thermoplastic Composites: A Perfect Blend of Performance and Cost,” at the upcoming Society of Plastics Engineers’ Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition taking place in Novi, Mich. from Sept. 9-11, 2015.

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