Monday, January 30, 2012

No. 423: Carbon fiber reinforced plastic becomes lighter and grows stronger (January 30, 2012)

Toray developed a new compound technology of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP)for injection molding. The company improved the adhesion properties between continuous carbon fiber and thermoplastic resin, and successfully obtained higher strength and better elasticity. The new technology makes it possible to reduce the weight by more than 20% as compared with the fiber-glass reinforced plastic of the same strength and increase the bending strength by more than 30%. Polypropylene (PP) and polyphenylene sulfide were used to develop the resin. A 20-30% weight reduction is possible by using PP pellets in place of fiber-glass reinforced plastic of the same strength. And a PP pellet has high heat resistance because its heat distortion temperature is above 260 degrees centigrade. Its chemical resistance and flame resistance are excellent, too.

The company modified the property of the surface of carbon fiber using nanostructure control technology and employed a small amount of an additive to produce the matrix resin. This realized the high degree of interface adhesion, while dispersing carbon fibers uniformly throughout the resin. The new product will be more expensive than the existing fiber-glass reinforced plastic, but it provides higher degree of design freedom and the ability to make a product lighter. The company plans to market it to auto makers and home electronics makers to help them reduce the weight of their products. Samples will be shipped within this year.   

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