Thermoplastic composites with multiaxial-oriented continuous fiber layers

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  • Fiber layers can be oriented at almost any conceivable angle
  • Unidirectional properties
  • Applications: high-strength structural components, e.g. automotive

Lanxess has introduced a new process for the production of continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic Tepex composites. The subsidiary company Bond-Laminates, which manufactures these composites, is now able to continuously series-produce large semi-finished composite products in which the continuous fiber layers can be oriented at almost any conceivable angle. Until now, the continuous fibers in Tepex could only be lined up in the direction of production or perpendicular to it (0 degrees or 90 degrees).

Designers can now use the differently oriented continuous fibers composite to react more specifically to the force transmission in the target component. Even quasi-isotropic constructions can now be designed using Tepex. This means that the material can be used to design lighter-weight composite components that are tailored even more specifically to the load in question.

Suitable for large-scale series production with minimal waste

These multiaxial semi-finished products are fully impregnated and consolidated. Despite being formable to quite extreme angles, their impregnation means the fibers are unlikely to slip. Special nesting programs help keep wastage to a minimum in almost all cases. Thus the processor receives a fully constructed, made-to-measure composite material that can be shaped into highly load-resistant, complex components in very short cycle times without generating wastage.

Unidirectional properties

Due to the continuous fibers’ high degree of orientation, the individual fiber layers demonstrate almost unidirectional properties. The stiffness and strength of the individual layers based on polyamide 6 and continuous glass fibers are 37 GPa and 780 MPa respectively in the direction of the fibers.

Exemplary construction of a multiaxial Tepex. Bond-Laminates can produce these composites continuously in an industrial-scale process that enables the continuous fiber layers to be oriented at almost any angle in the thermoplastic matrix (picture: Lanxess AG)

Exemplary construction of a multiaxial Tepex. Bond-Laminates can produce these composites continuously in an industrial-scale process that enables the continuous fiber layers to be oriented at almost any angle in the thermoplastic matrix (picture: Lanxess AG)

Broad range of applications

The multiaxial Tepex semi-finished products are suitable for manufacturing high-strength structural components and semi-structural components for automobiles in particular. The company is currently working on front end carriers, pedal and seating components, carriers for electrical and electronic modules, engine compartment guard plates, airbag housings and components used in underbody protection.

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