LFT composite as drop-in replacement for die-cast magnesium

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  • 40% weight reduction in injection molding & extrusion applications
  • Tensile modulus of up to 42,000 MPa
  • EMI shielding capabilities in the 60-80 dB range

PlastiComp, Inc. announced that it has expanded its Complet LFT composite pellet product line to include drop-in replacements for die-cast magnesium. The new LFT products duplicate both the mechanical and electrical properties of magnesium in injection molding or extrusion materials that offer up to 40% reductions in weight.

Composite meets both structural and electrical characteristics of metals

Long fiber reinforced composites have a history of successfully being used to replace metals, such as aluminum, because they offer weight savings and easier fabrication which provide considerable cost reductions. Where composites have previously fallen short is in meeting the combination of both structural and electrical characteristics of metals. It is common in the consumer electronics and automotive industries to use metals like magnesium for their stiffness and EMI shielding properties.

Plasticomp sample

Material matches mechanical performance of pressure die-cast magnesium

PlastiComp’s new LFT composites match the mechanical performance of pressure die-cast magnesium and aluminum with tensile modulus values up to 42,000 MPa. On the electrical side, they offer surface resistivity values down to 0.2 ohm/sq and EMI shielding capabilities in the 60-80 dB range depending on wall section thickness.

Cross sections of 0.7 to 1 mm possible

Even though the new materials contain both long fiber reinforcement and nanofillers to achieve magnesium substitution properties they mold extremely well, according to the company. PlastiComp has already successfully demonstrated commercial applications, with cross sections in the 0.7 to 1 mm range, which were injection molded without any difficulty using these LFT composites. Microstructural characterization showed a conductive network of intertwined carbon fibers and uniform dispersion of the nanofillers throughout the parts.

The combination of mechanical and electrical properties provided in these new LFT composites are achievable in a wide range of polymers from commodity to engineering resins based on performance requirements and price sensitivity of applications. In addition to hand-held devices and peripherals in the consumer electronics industry, the new magnesium substitution LFT composites can also replace metal profile extruded frames within the automotive industry.

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