Thermoplastic for RTM, infusion processes

Arkema featured on its JEC Europe 2013 stand Altuglas Composite, a polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) that is said to be the first thermoplastic resin compatible with resin transfer molding (RTM) and infusion processes used to mold thermoset composite parts.

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Arkema (Paris, France) featured on its JEC Europe 2013 stand Altuglas Composite, a polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) that is said to be the first thermoplastic resin compatible with resin transfer molding (RTM) and infusion processes used to mold thermoset composite parts. Arkema says the resulting parts exhibit mechanical properties similar to those of thermoset parts, but their thermoplastic nature offers postcure thermoformability and recyclability. Altuglas Composite was developed by Arkema and tech center partner PPE (Pôle de Plasturgie de l’Est, Saint-Avold, France). Altuglas Composite formulations were optimized with help from molder MVC (São José dos Pinhais, Brazil), materials specialist Chomarat (Le Cheylard, France) and glass fiber manufacturer 3B-the fibreglass co. (Battice, Belgium). The PMMA is designed to compete with unsaturated polyester (UPR), vinyl ester and epoxy resins with similar polymerization cycle times. It’s compatible with methacrylate-based structural adhesives and can be welded. MVC developed the first large demonstration part, using a room temperature RTM-light process with Altuglas Composite resin. The glass fabric reinforcement, processing equipment and polymerization cycle time were identical to those used by MVC for the industrial production of UPR composite parts. The new composite can be used for aesthetic semistructural composite parts, such as shaped truck parts, bus body panels and hoods for agricultural machinery. Additionally, Arkema and MVC have developed a thermoplastic solution that eliminates the need for a traditional gel coat. In this technology, the decorative layer is prepared by thermoforming a thermoplastic multilayer sheet, such as ABS/PMMA, in the mold prior to placement of the reinforcing fabric. The Altuglas Composite resin matrix naturally adheres to the ABS/PMMA surface layer.