Materials: Advances in PC-Based Composites
Covestro is moving ahead on a couple of fronts to advance its offerings in polycarbonate composites.
Over the last several years, Covestro, Pittsburgh, Penn., is among leading companies that have been committed to developing material solutions for composites and its broad portfolio includes new developments in thermoplastic composites. Included are:
● Fiber-reinforced composites for robust, thin-walled parts. Thanks to a new composite technology, extra-thin, lightweight, high-strength yet aesthetic parts can be manufactured on an industrial scale. The technology is based on continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic polymers (CFRTP) and is sold under the name Maezio. The matrix materials used include PC (as well as TPU) to which carbon fibers are added for reinforcement. At its Markt Bibart, Germany site, Covestro uses these materials to manufacture unidirectionally reinforced tapes and panels, which are further processed by customers.
These intermediate products are particularly well-suited for producing extra-thin-walled but robust housing parts for laptops and mobile phones. In line with the current trend for thin-walled devices with a cool look, they can also be made with aesthetic surface structures. The single-stage manufacturing process enables shorter cycle times and significant cost savings.
● Cooperation with EconCore. Polycarbonate and its blends, as well as CFRTPs, are the material of choice for producing lighter and more stable honeycomb panels for the interior furnishings in public buses and trains. For this application, the products must comply with specific FST (fire, smoke and toxicity) requirements.
Improving the FST performance of honeycomb panels is an important goal of the new cooperation between Covestro and Belgium’s EconCore N.V. It involves finding the right combination of PC types and composite materials, and adapting EconCore’s ThermHex continuouse honeycomb technology to meet the requirements. The overall objective is to develop lightweight sandwich panels with higher productivity than conventional composite materials.
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