Moves toward tighter limits on vehicle CO2 emissions, already being seen in Europe and elsewhere, are expected to spread to the rest of the world. Automakers face a pressing need for technical innovation to reduce CO2. Lightweight cars and electric vehicles are among the most effective solutions.
Under the backdrop of stricter CO2 restrictions, hybrid vehicles and new-generation eco-cars are becoming more popular while the growing demand of CFRT, the replacement of conventional high-tension steel, is inevitable.
Carbon fiber is an advanced material ten times stronger than steel at only a quarter of its weight. CFRT, a composite thermoplastic material reinforced by continuous carbon fiber, has the added advantage of high resistance to deformation and to acid and alkaline corrosion. Its potential to meet demands for energy saving and CO2 reduction in the automotive field has drawn increasing attention of late.
Conventional CFRT uses thermosetting resin, which hardens when heated. Requiring several minutes or hours to mold, it is no longer suitable for mass-produced automobiles.
Advantages of Thermoplastic over Thermosetting
More convenient material:
In thermosetting, the non-crimped fabric must be cut to the mold.
In thermoplastic, however, simply requires heating intermediate material made of thermoplastic resin and fiber reinforcement.
In thermosetting, there are several steps of processing (performing, heating, resin transfer molding, …).
While in thermoplastic, it needs only two steps (preheating and press molding).
Less time cost:
Due to reduced preparation and processing time, thermoplastic technology is highly efficient.
The improved production efficiency makes mass production feasible. In addition, the ability to modify the shape after molding opens the way to recycling through reuse, reforming, and other methods.