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9/9/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

Researchers develop recyclable PE structural composite

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A European consortium is developing a recyclable, sorted fiber composite material made of polyethylene that is suitable for load-bearing components.


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recycled composites

The PE composite material in a dynamic micro tensile test for the investigation of strain rate dependent material behavior. Source | Fraunhofer IWM, via Springer lightweight.design magazine


In a new project called SusComp, partners Fraunhofer IWM (Breisgau, Germany), MikroTribologie Centrum μTC (Karlsruhe, Germany), the Freiburg Materials Research Center (Breisgau, Germany) and polyolefin manufacturer LyondellBasell (Rotterdam, Netherlands), have reportedly produced and qualified a single-grade fiber composite material made of polyethylene (PE). Instead of carbon or glass fibers, the research partners are reinforcing the PE matrix with ultra-high-molecular-weight PE (UHMWPE) fibers. This high-strength and abrasion-resistant material is used in medical applications such as artificial knee joints. 

Scientists from the Freiburg Materials Research Center of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität now report to have developed a new process for the production of the material in injection molding. In this case, different catalysts are placed, with the help of PE can be selectively produced in different chain lengths and finely distributed on the same catalyst support. At this catalyst, mixtures of low, medium and ultra-high-molecular-weight PE are produced simultaneously by ethylene polymerization in the following synthesis of the PE, so-called reactor blends. In this way, PE blends are formed during the polymerization, which, according to the researchers, can easily be injection-molded. The reinforcing fibers are oriented in the desired direction during injection molding, thus ensuring mechanical stability.

This post is courtesy of the CompositesWorld and Springer lightweight.design magazine media partnership. Click here for more information about Springer and lightweight.design. 


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