The Carbon Company and the chemical company BASF have concluded the joint research of a new composite material system as an important development step of their collaboration. The system aims at enhancing the cost-effectiveness of manufacturing thermoplastic carbon-fiber composites, for example in injection procedures (T-RTM: thermoplastic resin transfer molding) and reaction injection molding. The composite is based on a reactive polyamide system and compatible carbon fibers. A carbon-fiber surface—or sizing—specially designed for the matrix system as well as tailored thermoplastic reactive systems mean that lightweight structural components for, say, the automotive industry can now be manufactured quickly and easily.
This collaboration between SGL Group and BASF was launched back in October 2012. On the basis of the now-complete material research, the transfer of the special systems made from carbon fibers and matrices into specific applications of customers in the automotive industry is now under way.
As part of this collaborative project, SGL Group developed a new sizing formulation for the carbon fibers. In addition, special processes for manufacturing carbon-fiber-based textiles such as fabrics and braidings were also developed. To produce Non-Crimp-Fabrics (NCF), special threads are used that enable processing in the reactive polyamide system.
BASF's role in this project was to process SGL Group's newly developed carbon fibers using the T-RTM technique and to characterize them comprehensively both chemically and mechanically. The BASF research team is continuing to work intensively on the development of caprolactam-based thermoplastic reactive systems.
Tilo Hauke, head of research at SGL Group: "The interaction of all components is of central importance for innovative composites based on reactive polyamide. With its extensive material knowhow, SGL Group brought a range of tailored solutions for sizings and fiber processing to this collaborative project."
Josef R. Wünsch, head of Structural Materials and Systems Research at BASF: "In close collaboration with plant manufacturers as well as tiers and automotive OEMs, we are working on the development of robust polyamid 6 carbon-fiber composite systems. The mechanical characteristic values arising from the interaction of the fiber and matrix are crucial input parameters for our simulation tool Ultrasim®.
We are currently working intensively on enhancing our simulation expertise for reactive systems so that we can provide our customers with expert support for part design and optimization."
Thermoplastics-based carbon-fiber composites combine the properties of carbon fibers such as high rigidity and low weight with the familiar processing advantages of thermoplastics, allowing them to be formed, recycled and welded. This helps make carbon fiber technology an even more viable proposition for large-scale production in a number of different applications.
At BASF, we create chemistry – and have been doing so for 150 years. Our portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. As the world’s leading chemical company, we combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of over €74 billion in 2014 and around 113,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.
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