SGL and BASF Develop New Carbon Fibre Material System

The two companies marked the completion of its join research programme as a important step in the development of a new polyamide carbon fibre system.

The new system which looks at enhancing the cost-effectiveness of manufacturing thermoplastic carbon fibre composites is based on a reactive polyamide system and compatible carbon fibres. A carbon-fibre surface or sizing specially designed for the matrix system as well as tailored thermoplastic reactive systems mean that lightweight structural components can now be manufactured quicker and easier.

The partnership between the SGL Group and BASF was launched back in October 2012. On the basis of the now-complete material research, the transfer of the special systems made from carbon fibres and matrices into specific applications of customers in the automotive industry is now under way.

SGL developed a new sizing formulation for the carbon fibres. In addition, special processes for manufacturing carbon-fibre-based textiles such as fabrics and braidings were also developed. To produce Non-Crimp-Fabrics (NCF), special threads are used that enable processing in the reactive polyamide system.

BASF’s role was to process the newly developed carbon fibres using the thermoplastic resin transfer molding technique and to characterise them comprehensively both chemically and mechanically. The BASF research team is continuing to work intensively on the development of caprolactam-based thermoplastic reactive systems.

Josef R. Wünsch, head of Structural Materials and Systems Research at BASF said;

In close collaboration with plant manufacturers as well as tiers and automotive OEMs, we are working on the development of robust polyamid 6 carbon-fibre composite systems. The mechanical characteristic values arising from the interaction of the fibre and matrix are crucial input parameters for our simulation tool Ultrasim.

Thermoplastics-based carbon-fibre composites combine the properties of carbon fibres such as high rigidity and low weight with the familiar processing advantages of thermoplastics, allowing them to be formed, recycled and welded. This helps make carbon fibre technology an even more viable proposition for large-scale production in a number of different applications.