|Example of a hybrid structure with nylon composite sheet |
Continuous fiber reinforced plastics are increasing in popularity. However, carbon fibers are expensive and usually embedded in thermoset plastic matrices, making them economically worthwhile only for small series production due to the high cost of further processing. In contrast, glass fibers are much cheaper and perform very well.
Tepex® is a semi-finished product made by Bond-Laminates GmbH - a part of LANXESS High Performance Materials Business Unit and competent partner for composite sheets. The material is comprising a fabric made of continuous glass fibers embedded in e.g. polyamide or other thermoplastic matrices. Nylon composite sheet can easily be formed and draped after applying heat. Because thermoplastic processing does not trigger a chemical reaction, cycles are short and, most importantly, reproducible results can be achieved with extremely low scrap rates. Compared with metal, the investment needed to create a preform is much lower, as only one tool is needed.
The preform is then placed in the injection mold like a metal insert and back-injected. Depending on the geometry, the nylon composite sheet can also be formed directly in the mold (one-shot process). Since the composite sheet and the injection molding compound consist of compatible matrix systems, a material bond is formed at the points of contact. The material bond enables a rib structure to provide support over the entire length of the rib whereas, with a plastic-metal hybrid, “only” the through-molded and overmolded areas create a form-fitting connection. The strength of nylon composite sheet hybrid components can therefore be just as high or even higher than those made with standard steels.
Corrosion, which can be a problem with untreated steel sheet or if the adhesive sealing becomes damaged, does not occur in nylon composite sheet.
This combination of properties makes nylon composite sheet hybrid components ideal for use in large-scale series production.