Tokyo-based carbon fibers and composites specialists Toho Tenax Co. has announced the development of a flame-retardant, high-modulus, thermoplastic textile prepreg, a carbon-fiber sheet pre-impregnated with matrix resin.
Toho Tenax’s new textile version uses Tenax® TPWF (thermoplastic woven fabric) as a base and achieves a high level of impregnation with polyethersulfone resin, resulting in more than 55 percent carbon-fiber content; this delivers high flame retardancy and robust mechanical properties. It can be used to produce high performance carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastics (CFRTP) in 1-meter-width rolls.
Typical carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) use a thermoset resin such as epoxy, which requires a long processing time and high production costs. In parallel with this new prepreg, Toho Tenax also developed a rapid heat and cool press-molding technology that can produce CFRTP in a four-minute cycle time, significantly shortening the processing time and enabling high-production volume. The company is currently working for an even shorter cycle time.
Additionally, typical thermoset prepregs require refrigerated storage, but the use of thermoplastics in this new prepreg enables it to be stored long term at room temperature. And the thermoplastic resin allows this textile prepreg to be recycled into pellets for injection molding.
The prepreg has UL94 V-0 capability and will be certified by June 2016. Toho Tenax plans to use this new thermoplastics textile prepreg to develop CFRTP for consumer electronics, medical equipment and sporting goods.
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