Westlake Plastics, Environmental Composites launch thermoformable carbon fiber composite
Aerolite Carbon is an advanced carbon fiber/thermoplastic material designed for fast, large-volume parts manufacture on existing equipment.
Source | Environmental Composites Inc.
Westlake Plastics Co. (Lenni, Pa., U.S.) and Environmental Composites Inc. (Utica, N.Y., U.S.) have jointly launched Aerolite Carbon, a carbon fiber textile designed for compatibility with standard thermoforming equipment such as vacuum forming or pressure forming.
Aerolite Carbon was developed jointly by thermoplastic extrusion specialist Westlake Plastics and advanced textile specialist Environmental Composites. The product is an advanced carbon fiber textile impregnated with a proprietary thermoplastic alloy resin. According to the companies, the material’s chemistry and construction enables it to stretch uniformly when heated to form deep draws and sharp angles on simple one-sided tooling.
According to the companies, the product supports large-volume applications with standard 4' × 8' sheet size, capable of being processed in under 2 minutes. Aerolite Carbon was developed to deliver better economy and throughput than existing composite materials, while using an existing global supply chain for part conversion. Aerolite Carbon targets both consumer and industrial applications seeking lightweight performance products at minimal cost.
Complex geometry formation and as-molded cosmetic finishes are said to be achievable through a single-step forming process and a proprietary carbon fiber-reinforced sheet design. Color matching, as-molded textures, class A surfaces and custom graphics are also said to be possible with the material.
The structural properties of composite materials are derived primarily from the fiber reinforcement. Fiber types, their manufacture, their uses and the end-market applications in which they find most use are described.
Spirit AeroSystems actualizes Airbus’ intelligent design for the A350’s center fuselage and front wing spar in Kinston, N.C.
Oven-cured, vacuum-bagged prepregs show promise in production primary structures.