REFORMAT AND HONEYTEX 2020: AITEX’S NEW LINES OF RESEARCH

by Beatriz Domenech

R+D Projects

17th February 2021

The need for new functionalised high-performance textiles is being met by AITEX by focusing some lines of research on the following fields:

  • The development of reinforced thermoplastic materials
  • The development of next-generation honeycombs

In this respect, the Institute is working on the research and development of the following projects:

REFORMAT – DEVELOPMENT OF REINFORCED THERMOPLASTIC MATERIALS FROM ADVANCED PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES.

Composite materials are the materials of choice when a high strength-to-weight ratio is required. However, choosing the ideal combination of matrix and reinforcement is complicated by the wide variety of formats between the reinforcement fibres (short, long or continuous fibres) and the matrices (thermoplastic or thermosetting).

Throughout the REFORMAT project, AITEX has optimised the manufacturing processes, the nexus of which was the implementation of reinforcement fibres in thermoplastic matrices. The appropriate format of the reinforcement fibres changes depending on the manufacturing process, varying from continuous fibres for pultrusion processes, thermoplastic prepregs, impregnated unidirectional tape or 3D laminar structures, to staple fibres of different lengths for reinforced materials for injection moulding. The size of the reinforcement fibres was also optimised, seeking greater compatibility between fibres.

The following results were obtained:

  • The creation of carbon fibre-reinforced materials for injection moulding employing advanced manufacturing processes which allow the length of the reinforcing fibre to be adjusted to requirements.
  • The development of reinforcing materials used as reinforcing in thermoplastic pultrusion fabricated during the Project.

HONEYTEX 2020 – THE STUDY AND DESIGN OF SEMI-INDUSTRIAL PLANT TO DEVELOP HONEYCOMBS

High performance honeycombs are quite expensive, while lower-priced alternatives fail to fully achieve the required mechanical performance.

The HONEYTEX project has studied continuous thermo compression processes to develop honeycombs with different characteristics of cell openings and compositions. The honeycombs are based on carded nonwovens, which have optimised percentages of reinforcement fibres combined with thermoplastic fibres. These thermoplastic fibres are melted through a continuous thermo compression process, bonding the reinforcement fibres to create the hexagonal cell honeycombs.

This has made it possible to develop a new generation of high-strength honeycombs, combining materials and manufacturing processes to reduce the cost of production and thus of the honeycomb itself.

This project has been supported by la Conselleria d’Economia Sostenible, Sectors Productius, Comerç i Treball of the Generalitat Valenciana, through IVACE

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