REFORTEX. R+D of new composite materials through the incorporation of hybrid thermo-plastic yarns
The constant exponential growth of the composite materials industry is mainly due to the continuous development of high-strength fibres combined with the development of new polymers and the on-going evolution of manufacturing processes. This rapid increase in the production of cutting-edge materials has been driven by the aeronautical, aerospace, automotive-transport and construction industries, where the new materials excel thanks to their superior performance over conventional materials.
Currently, thermoset matrix materials dominate the market but the trend is towards their replacement by thermoplastic materials. The predominance of thermosetting materials was due to the hitherto inferior performance of thermoplastics. However, in recent years progress has been made in the development of thermoplastic matrices with similar benefits to thermostable ones. This is an important advance in composite materials, since the processing of thermoplastic materials is faster and simpler than that of thermosets as they do not need to be cured, can be reprocessed, can be bonded by melting and are reusable. They do possess certain drawbacks, however since thermoplastics are solid at room temperature and have high viscosity in their molten state, which makes impregnation of the reinforcing fibres difficult.
Currently, the processing of thermoplastic matrix composite materials is achieved using methods similar to those used for thermostable composites. In this project it is proposed to improve the processing of these composites while additionally enhancing their mechanical behaviour through the incorporation of PEEK and PEI, which are both polymers with high melting points and excellent mechanical properties, eliminating losses in resistance or rigidity that occur with the use of other types of polymers with lower melting temperatures.
Refortex is focused on the development of new high-performance composite materials through 5 work phases, where the development of hybrid yarns is of paramount importance.
The first phase focuses on the spinning of thermofusible continuous filaments of PEEK (Polyether ether ketone) and PEI (Polyetherimide). These are both polymers with a high melting point, which will confer excellent mechanical performance on the final product. The properties of each material will be studied and processing methods will be investigated to improve the homogeneity of the resulting hybrid yarns.
The second phase will investigate the processes involved in the development of homogeneous hybrid yarns composed of PEEK + Carbon Fibre and PEI + Carbon Fibre filaments.
In the third phase, the hybrid yarns will be used in a range of different weaving processes to study how best to obtain the optimum results in the subsequent phases.
After an exhaustive study of the processes and previous results, in the fourth phase, prototypes will be validated by thermoforming panels that will be used to obtain results on their mechanical performance.
After the research and development of the initial phases (focused on obtaining the optimum results) and subsequent to the study of the different resulting composites, a final prototype will be produced to corroborate the high performance of the composite materials developed during the project.
During the execution of the REFORTEX project, the following results are expected:
- The manufacture of PEEK and PEI yarns by reducing the denier per filament.
- The manufacture of hybrid yarns with optimum homogeneity.
- The manufacture of fabrics with different percentages of material.
- The prototyping of composite materials in the form of flat panels and 3D geometries.
- The validation of the thermal and mechanical properties of the prototypes.
The knowledge generated in new composite materials can be used not only in the composites industry, but also in a wide range of sectors, such as automotive, aeronautics, construction, civil engineering and sports among others, providing the textile sector of the Valencian Community with innovative products and methodologies.
This Project is supported by the Conselleria d’Economia Sostenible, Sectors Productius i Treball, through the IVACE (Instituto Valenciano de Competitividad Empresarial)
GRANT NUMBER: IMAMCI/2018/1
MORE INFORMATION IN THE NON-ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES PLAN
- Año: 2018
- Estado: finalizado
- Entidad: IVACE