With the popularization of carbon fiber from aerospace to normal industries, the material itself is also getting down from highbrow to lowbrow. For example, modern hybrid vehicles using batteries begin to adopt carbon fiber as the material of cell boxes for weight reduction.
However, the high cost of carbon fiber becomes the Achilles’ heel of its further development. Besides, in domestic markets of composite materials, the design of bearing structures remains dependent on foreign technologies. Most Chinese entrepreneurs can do nothing more than processing in the guidance of imported technologies and drawings. It is high time to innovate our own intellectual property.
Some manufacturers have emerged to break the traditional design. In the fan blade industry, the annual consumption of carbon fiber has amounted to 20 thousand tons, which has greatly surpassed that in the aerospace industry.
TOPOLO is always laying emphasis on the innovation of composite materials for lightweight solutions. Our composite fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites can meet the high demand of both lightweight and low cost. The reinforcement can be either carbon fiber or glass fiber, and the CFRT products include UD tapes, thermoplastic composite sheet, honeycomb sandwich panels and so on. All of them can be widely used in different areas.
More suggestions for cost efficiency
♦To balance the structural integrity and technology cost:
The composite material is suitable for the integral forming of components with complex shapes. It can reduce the workload of assembly and the use of fasteners, but at the same time, increase the processing cost due to the complexity of its molds. In addition, over-integrity usually means hard maintenance. Integrity must be considered together with cost.
♦To make full use of lamination:
The lamination of the composite material is flexible and designable. We don’t have to rely too much on the low density to achieve lightweight. It is also suggested to use reinforced structure rather than sandwich structure.
In TOPOLO, the CFRT unidirectional tapes and thermoplastic composite sheets can be designed from 2 to 9 layers, with different weight and thickness.
The connection is always a Gordian Knot in the design of composite materials. How to balance the traditional metal structure and modern aeronautical structure is still under research.
♦Integration of structure and function:
The design of traditional composite materials considers only mechanical properties. In fact, a lot of useful functions can be realized through the design flexibility of CFRT composites, such as shock absorption, flame retardant, chemical resistance, etc..
Large-scale components with complex shapes can be assembled from divided prototypes with standard parameters. These standard prototypes can be mass produced by traditional technology and the performance of final products is better than that of the overall molded components.
♦To introduce continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites (CFRT):
Traditional carbon fiber and glass fiber reinforced composites tend to use short or long fiber as reinforcement. Short fiber is usually more expensive. However, CFRT adopts continuous fiber as its reinforcement, which is more lightweight and comparatively cheaper.
We can see that it’s easy to achieve both lightweight and low cost. Continuous fiber reinforced composite grows with the innovation of modern new materials and is expected to be in the ascendant in the future market.