A year after launching its hybrid long-glass+carbon fiber composite nylon 66, PlastiComp, Winona, Minn., is now offering two new hybrid products, which combine long glass fiber and long carbon fiber in a single, affordable ready-to-mold composite pellet in PP and engineered thermoplastic polyurethane (ETPU) matrices.
The company says it was able to quickly commercialize its nylon 66 hybrid composite in a sporting goods application where long glass fiber alone could not provide enough stiffness to eliminate a metal insert and long carbon fiber options were two cost prohibitive. The performance spectrum achievable with long glass+carbon fiber hybrids is virtually infinite, says technical directors Eric Wolland. “If durability is a concern, we can formulate a product that has more long glass fiber to improve impact resistance, if higher load carrying ability is needed we then move to products that include additional long carbon fiber to increase stiffness and strength.”
Wolland notes that the automotive sector has been adopting long glass fiber PP for a couple of decades because it offers a significant weight reduction compared to metal components. “But, to meet increasing fuel economy regulations, they still need to go lighter, but LFT-PP can’t get any stronger and jumping straight to carbon fiber is a bold economic step for a price-sensitive industry.” Meanwhile, in consumer and sporting goods markets, carbon fiber has been 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 are made from lower performing materials, says Wolland.
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