PlastiComp Inc. (Winona, Minn.), a manufacturer of long fiber thermoplastic (LFT) materials and technologies, will highlight three recent innovations in its long fiber reinforced Complēt composite pellet products for injection molding and extrusion. New hybrid long glass and carbon fiber composites from PlastiComp combine these two fibers together in a single, ready-to-mold pellet that expands the performance range for long fiber materials and offers a cost effective way to adopt the high-performance capabilities of carbon fiber. Company officials says the material allows PlastiComp to cut the amount of carbon fiber used in half and still keep 85 to 95 percent of the strength and stiffness. In addition, the addition of glass fiber increases durability by up to 25 percent.
The second material PlastiComp has developed is a long fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite that duplicates the mechanical and electrical properties of magnesium and allows for up 40 percent weight reduction. These materials match the mechanical performance of pressure die-cast magnesium and aluminum with tensile modulus values up to 42,000 MPa. On the electrical side, they offer surface resistivity values down to 0.2 ohm/sq and EMI shielding capabilities in the 60-80 dB range depending on wall section thickness.
The third product is a long basalt fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite that offers a significant increase in performance over short basalt fiber-filled materials and are available in multiple resins matrices with 30 to 60 percent by weight fiber loadings. Derived from volcanic rock, basalt fiber offers good corrosion resistance, high abrasion resistance, and inherent fire resistance.
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When humans do finally travel to Mars, they will have to be well protected from a less-than-hospitable environment. The suit designed to do the job is already in development at NASA, and it relies heavily on composites.