At the recent JEC Europe 2015 exhibition, Arkema (Colombes, France and King of Prussia, PA, US) showcased its ready-to-use materials for omposites molders, such as Elium reactive thermoplastic resin for resin transfer molding (RTM) and infusion processes, structural adhesives for composite-composite and metal-composite assembly (AEC Polymers) and now thermoplastic tapes and prepregs for thermocompression, thermostamping and lamination, specifically, tapes produced by Polystrand (Englewood, CO, US).
Polystrand tapes are continuous glass fibers impregnated by various thermoplastic polymers, including polypropylene, polyamides and fluoropolymers. These tapes have outstanding properties in terms of stiffness, strength and impact resistance, as compared to traditional compounds. They can be laminated or laid up ply per ply in the load direction, in order to bring glass fiber properties where they are needed. The X-ply prepregs are similar to impregnated fabrics but present the advantage of higher mechanical performance thanks to the absence of crimp. These materials are already used in many applications in North America, for example in the automotive industry to reinforce front ends. Overmolding with short-fiber compounds is possible, to integrate functions in the composite part or to locally reinforce short-fiber composites. These continuous fiber materials bring endless opportunities to manufacture structural thermoplastic composite parts.