BASF for First Time with Thermoplastic Composites at AVK Conference
OREANDA-NEWS. September 28, 2012. For the first time at the “Composites Europe” trade show, BASF will show its novelties for composites based on continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastics focusing on the automotive industry. Moreover, the research topic RTM (resin transfer molding) can be discussed at a prototype component at BASF’s booth A2 in hall 8b in Duesseldorf from October 9 to 11, 2012: At the international AVK conference preceding the Composites Europe fair BASF will present a new fiber composite design for a sandwich roof module.
Opel Astra OPC seat pan: first serial application for continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite containing Ultramid from BASF
The new Opel Astra OPC, a sports coupй that premiered in March 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show, features a seat pan made from continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic laminate. The plastics used here are polyamide specialties from BASF’s Ultramid® range. This is the world’s first auto seat pan in a mass-produced vehicle that uses this technology.
BASF developed two Ultramid specialties for the Opel Astra OPC seat pan: a non-reinforced grade serves as impregnating material for the glass-fiber fabric, while an impact-modified short-fiber-reinforced Ultramid grade is used for overmolding the preform, creating the required ribs and edges by a classic injection molding process. The high strength of the fiber-reinforced laminate allows significantly lower wall thicknesses, reducing the weight of the seat pan by 45 %.
Body and structural parts for mass production: RTM roof module concept study
The multi-material Lightweight Composites Team established by BASF is simultaneously investigating the potential that three plastic matrix systems, epoxy resin, PUR and polyamide, hold for continuous-fiber reinforcement in resin injection processes suitable for mass production, including in particular resin transfer molding (RTM). Target applications are plastic applications in car bodies and chassis.
Under the Baxxodur® and Elastolit® R brands, BASF offers solutions based on epoxy resin and PUR systems, respectively, already at this stage. Both of these thermoset materials feature novel curing mechanisms that make them cross-link in a matter of minutes. The new polyamide systems being developed start from very low-viscosity Caprolactam, a precursor of PA 6, and advanced activator and catalyst systems. These thermoplastic composites can accordingly be formed, recycled and welded. Apart from add-on parts like doors, tailgates and roof modules, potential applications also include highly loaded structural automotive parts.
A first demonstrator component based on BASF’s materials for RTM processing is the conceptual study of a multi-segmented convertible roof module in which a polyurethane foam core is sandwiched between carbon-fiber reinforced cover layers. The closed-cell structural PUR foam branded Elastolit® D which forms the core layer of the sandwich acts as a low bulk density spacer between the cover layers of the laminate, ensuring extremely high component stiffness and providing good insulating properties. At a total weight of 2.9 kilograms, the roof segment based on a fiber-reinforced composite sandwich concept reduces weight by more than 35 % compared to an aluminum, and by more than 65 % compared to a steel structure.