BASF & SGL Group on the Path to Reactive Polyamide Carbon Fibre Composites

BASF and the SGL Group will jointly develop a composite material based on a reactive polyamide system and suitable carbon fibres, serving the cost-effective production of thermoplastic carbon fibre-reinforced composites.

The material system is intended for use in the T-RTM process (Thermoplastic Resin Transfer Moulding) as well as the reactive injection moulding process, and permits considerably shorter processing cycles than conventional thermosetting RTM. The adjustment of the material system to these faster processing techniques plays a major role for the entry of light and high-strength structural components made of carbon fibre composite into automotive mass production.

As a manufacturer of polyamide and caprolactam, a precursor of polyamide, BASF is contributing its knowledge in the development of new polymer matrix systems. The SGL Group is utilising material expertise along the carbon fibre value-added chain and in high-temperature processes.

Dr. Martin Jung, Head of Structural Materials Research and spokesman for BASF Research toward the automotive industry.

To achieve good wetting of the fibre and short cycle times in T-RTM or reactive injection moulding, we start from low-viscosity highly reactive caprolactam formulations

In order to achieve optimal bonding of the polyamide to the fibre, the new matrix system requires a suitable carbon fiber surface treatment.

Dr. Hubert Jäger, Head of Technology & Innovation, SGL Group:

It is only with a custom-formulated finish that this optimal bonding can form and the carbon fibres transmit their unique stiffness and strength properties fully to the part. On the basis of our many years of industrial experience, we are able to optimise processes and materials along the entire value-added chain of carbon fibre technology for new applications.

Thermoplastic carbon fibre-reinforced composites combine the properties of carbon fibres such as high stiffness at low weight with the typical processing advantages of thermoplastics. They can be formed, recycled and welded. In this way they encourage further development of carbon fibre technology toward the goal of suitability for mass production.

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