CAMX 2014 preview: The Composites Group

The Composites Group (TCG, Highland Heights, Ohio, USA) and its three business units, Quantum Composites, Premix and Hadlock Plastics, will collectively feature five new thermoset compounding materials and two technical presentations at CAMX 2014.

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The Composites Group (TCG, Highland Heights, Ohio, USA) and its three business units, Quantum Composites, Premix and Hadlock Plastics, will collectively feature five new thermoset compounding materials and two technical presentations at CAMX 2014. New are PremierUV and PremierLT, two high-performance product families of ultraviolet-resistant and lightweight thermoset sheet molding compounds (SMC), respectively.

The PremierUV line is comprised of PremierUV VSH-25S and PremierUV VLH-25S, for electrical and outdoor applications, including electrical enclosures, light housings and warning tiles. Both are fiberglass-reinforced compounds with non-halogen, flame-retardant technology that deliver good color retention as well as resistance to chalking and glass bloom.

The PremierLT family of lightweight, low-density materials is designed to meet market needs for structural and semi-structural applications. PremierLT L701S boasts a specific gravity of 1.2 along with good moldability. It is pigmentable and offers low shrink. PremierLT L702S offers good strength and moldability with a specific gravity of 1.5. It is said to deliver excellent flexural strength and toughness and accepts automotive primers and powder in-mold coatings.

Also new is Quantum Composites’ first hybrid carbon fiber material, AMC-8590-12CFH, an Advanced Molding Compound that offers the performance benefits of carbon fiber at a cost similar to high-performance fiberglass. It is said to be easily moldable, delivering parts that are high-strength, low-density and resistant to fatigue, suitable for applications in the automotive, heavy truck, medical, sporting goods and industrial markets.

In the CAMX conference, Paula Watt, open innovation leader, will present, "Low-density high bio-based on carbon (BBC) molding compounds." Abstract: Weight reduction of composites is desirable for a number of applications. Thermoset molding compounds have historically used mineral fillers to reduce cost through displacement of the more expensive resin matrix. Because these fillers comprise a significant portion of the compound and have specific gravities of roughly 2.5 g/cc, the density of the molding compounds is typically 1.8 g/cc to 1.9 g/cc. Approaches to lightweighting these compounds include reduction of filler loading or use of hollow glass spheres as fillers. Both of these approaches result in a significant cost premium. Renewable biomass fillers provide lower density than mineral fillers yielding compounds at equivalent volume reinforcement with a 20 to 25 percent weight reduction. These have been evaluated in thermosets in the past but have exhibited issues with water uptake and cure inhibition. Thermal treatments of the biomass have proven to improve the hydrophobicity of the fillers but can exacerbate the inhibition problems. As a result these fillers can be incorporated at only partial loading of the total filler limiting the potential of weight reduction and renewable content. Recent advances in the processing of biomass have yielded fillers that do not inhibit the thermoset cure reaction allowing complete replacement of mineral fillers for compound densities as low as 1.4 g/cc and BBC levels of greater than 40 percent. These compounds are projected to be near cost neutral to conventional compounds on a per volume basis.

Kurt Butler, polymer chemist, will present, "Monomer-free sheet molding compounds. Abstract: Monomer-free unsaturated polyester thermoset resins have been available for a number of years in other industrial applications, especially as protective coatings in the electrical industry. Recently monomer-free unsaturated polyester and/or vinyl ester thermoset resins have moved into the composite arena, mostly as hot melt-type resins for prepreg processes or, for the liquid versions, as infusion, pultrusion, resin transfer, wet-molding and BMC processes. The traditional sheet molding compound (SMC) process was not considered a viable process as the monomer-free liquid resins have seen drawbacks in producing a thicken-able sheet. It has been found that modifications to the sheet molding compound formula that incorporate the monomer-free resins have now enabled the use of the monomer-free resins in the traditional SMC processes. The sheet molding compound can employ the use of the traditional fillers (calcium carbonate and ATH), initiator systems, pigments, monomer-free shrinkage control agents, and reinforcements (glass or carbon fibers). This presentation will explore and demonstrate the properties of the monomer-free sheet molding compound systems.