LFTs duplicate both the mechanical and electrical properties of magnesium in injection molding or extrusion while offering up to 40% reductions in weight.

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Expanding its Complet line of long-fiber thermoplastic (LFT) compounds, PlastiComp, Winona, Minn., has introduced new LFTs that duplicate both the mechanical and electrical properties of magnesium in injection molding or extrusion while offering up to 40% reductions in weight.

Says Raj Mathur, v.p. of technology, “Structurally, 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 electronic and automotive industries to use metals like magnesium for their stiffness and EMI shielding properties. The new grades reportedly allow these types of metal applications to be converted to long-fiber thermoplastics.

The new LFT composites match the mechanical performance of pressure die-cast magnesium and aluminum with tensile values up to 42,000 MPa (6 million psi). 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 thickness. These LFT composites are achievable in a wide range of plastics—from commodity to engineering resins.