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Innovative Composite Fabrics to Reduce Cycle Time and Lower Cost in Composites Manufacturing

Mon, 07/02/2012 - 2:55pm

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The need to reduce cycle time in order to lower cost in composites manufacturing is critical. Victrex Polymer Solutions, a world leader in polyaryletherketones and Tissa Glasweberei AG, a recognized pioneer in continuous fiber glass weaving techniques, have co-developed innovative composite fabrics to be marketed under Tissa’s brand name TIXPREF. These fabrics are made out of unidirectional tapes formed from S-2 Glass* or carbon fibers that have been fully impregnated with high performance VICTREX® PEEK polymer. These TIXPREF composite fabrics assist customers in drastically reducing the cycle time, up to 50% (and even more for thin walled parts), required for press forming of the fabrics into composite parts.

Tissa's TIXPREF fabrics offer numerous advantages, including excellent mechanical properties that result from the high fiber content of up to 65%. Being thermoplastic in nature, the TIXPREF fabrics have a higher damage tolerance when compared to thermoset-based fabrics, high fatigue strength and stiffness, and excellent integration of the fiber with the matrix, resulting in a longer lifetime for the composite part, plus a reduction in its structural weight. The fabrics are easy and safe to handle, thus well suited for automated processes and out-of-autoclave manufacturing methods.

"These characteristics exploit the outstanding performance properties of VICTREX PEEK polymer," said Albert Vodermayer, European Composites Market Leader at Victrex Polymer Solutions. "They include a service temperature of up to 260°C (500°F), high resistance to harsh chemicals and solvents, and exceptional wear resistance, to provide superior mechanical properties under both static and dynamic load conditions. Tissa fabrics are environmentally friendly since VICTREX PEEK polymer is solvent-free and recyclable and being thermoplastic in nature they can be stored at ambient temperature eliminating the need for expensive cooling and storage costs."

Following a positive client response to first samples, Tissa has gone one step further and developed non-crimp fabrics (NCFs), again utilizing VICTREX PEEK polymer. Non-crimp fabrics are constructed with two sets of fibers, to prevent undulation of the reinforcing fibers. In the case of TIXPREF fabrics, this means the tapes are positioned straight in the fabric, and this allows maximum stiffness of the consolidated part. Tissa's flexible production techniques allow multiple combinations of fibers and matrices. The resulting composite fabrics are tailored for use in aerospace, and in industrial and medical applications that do not have complex shaped parts, such as flat structures and panels. By heating the prepregs and press forming for two to three minutes, a panel thickness of only 2mm (0.078in) is possible. However, the use of specialized molds enables production of sophisticated parts with strips or inserts, or both.

Victrex Polymer Solutions
www.victrex.com

 

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