Evonik launches new Composites Project House

Evonik's 10th project house, an in-house research and development program, will focus on development of composite materials and processes for construction, automotive and aerospace applications.

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Evonik Industries (Essen, Germany) announced on May 28 that it has launched its Composites Project House in spring 2013. Evonik’s 10th project house is based primarily in Marl, Germany, with a branch in Darmstadt, Germany.

The Composites Project House will develop new materials and system solutions for the lightweight construction sector. Among the topics addressed will be automotive and aviation applications and applications in renewable energy. Having established the Composites Project House, the specialty chemicals company is intensifying its strategic research for resource-efficient, sustainable solutions, particularly in the field of mobility.

“Our aim in setting up the Composites Project House is to expand our expertise in the field of composites. Innovative composites will make it possible to improve resource efficiency significantly at the same time,” says Dr. Dahai Yu, Evonik’s Executive Board member responsible for the Specialty Materials segment, who believes that composite materials for the lightweight construction sector are an attractive market for Evonik.

Evonik has been offering composites for specific applications in the lightweight construction industry for some time now: ROHACELL as a structural foam in fiber-reinforced composite parts, VESTAMIN as the hardener component for duroplastic matrix systems, and VESTAKEEP as a matrix for thermoplastic composites, to name a few examples.

Dr. Sandra Reemers, head of the Composites Project House, explains: “By selecting the right starting materials and assembling them, the process as well as the properties of the composite can be customized for a particular application.”

The issues being worked on at the Composites Project House are current and future customer requirements such as rapid, profitable processability of the composites. “One of our aims in this project house is to develop materials that can be processed as quickly as thermoplastics but that are ultimately similar to duroplastic composites. Duroplastics have a very high level of mechanical stability and do not deform under pressure,” says Reemers. “Take, for example, the auto industry, where up to now composite parts have only been able to be installed in small quantities and only after the coating has been burned in. The goal here is to develop materials that can be installed in the same way as metal components, i.e. before the paint is applied.”

In the project houses run by Creavis, Evonik’s strategic research and development unit, experts from several operating units and external experts work together on issues that will expand Evonik’s product and technology portfolio and drive forward research until it is ready for use. The research findings are then commercialized by Evonik’s operating units or an internal start-up. In addition to the Composites Project House, Creavis currently manages the Light & Electronics Advanced Project House (APH) in Taiwan.