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Low-emission polyamide 6 for long fiber reinforced thermoplastics flow molding

News International-French

16 Apr 2014

Lanxess expands range for thermoplastic compression molding processes with high load-bearing sandwich structures.

Compression molding processes for fiber-reinforced thermoplastic matrices are of increasing importance in the lightweight construction of motor vehicles. They are highly suited to the cost-efficient fabrication of large but lightweight components from a custom material mix with short cycle times, particularly also for small to moderate production volumes due to the low mold costs. The company therefore is expanding its range of products for these processes.

For example, Lanxess subsidiary Bond-Laminates sells continuous fiber-reinforced composites for the flow molding process under the brand name Tepex dynalite. Proven for use in production vehicles, the composite semi-finished products based on polypropylene or polyamide can be used as overlays to reinforce specific areas of components that are exposed to extreme load. The products also can be combined with various flow molding or forming materials, for instance with direct long fiber reinforced thermoplastics (DLFT), glass mat reinforced thermoplastic systems (GMT) and low-weight reinforced thermoplastics (LWRT). “The result is sandwich structures that can increase the stiffness, strength and energy absorption of a compression molded part several times over. This gives engineers yet another option for significantly increasing the mechanical performance of their components and achieving a custom material mix,” explains Harri Dittmar, applications developer at Bond-Laminates. Furthermore, different variations of a component can be fabricated in a single mold, such as simple DLFT underbody panels and similar variations reinforced locally with Tepex for countries with poor roads.

The company further has developed a new, heat-stabilized polyamide 6 for DLFT flow molding. “According to our customers, it is the first custom polyamide 6 for this process that displays excellent flow properties as opposed to the conventional long fiber compression molding compounds based on polyamide 6, and can be processed fume-free at extrusion temperatures of 280 °C to 300 °C. Our material thus expands the application range of the process – previously dominated by polypropylene – to include applications that have to offer the typical advantages of polyamide 6,” says Lukas Schröer, applications developer at LANXESS. What is more, compared to polypropylene, polyamide 6 is stable at higher temperatures and withstands the drying temperatures following cathodic dip painting (CDP). As a result, the compression molding process gains access to new fields of application previously reserved for injection molding.

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