The Benefits of Thermoplastics in Composites Manufacturing
The use of thermoplastics in composites manufacturing is growing due to the benefits offered across various industries, particularly with the ability to be reprocessed a number of times. Thermoplastics are made of polymer material that is malleable at increased temperatures. When a reinforcement fiber is added, the benefits of thermoplastic materials are increased substantially.
Thermoplastic composites have greater impact and environmental resistance as compared to thermoset. That attribute, coupled with their short processing times due to a lack of or low curing cycle requirements, make thermoplastics efficient for use during the production process and when applied in real-life composites applications.
The ability of thermoplastics to be reheated, remelted, and remolded is their major benefit and a primary reason for their continued growth within composites manufacturing. This attribute gives thermoplastics an essentially endless shelf life, as well as making them easily repairable and recyclable. In addition, thermoplastics can be bonded and welded, offering a great alternative to mechanical fastening and increasing efficiency in production assembly processes.
Thermoplastics are a growing choice for composites manufacturers
For all the many benefits listed, thermoplastics are a composite of choice for automotive, aerospace, and construction applications. Additionally, they offer high strength and toughness, together with lightweight and environmental resistance.
Innovative uses for thermoplastic composites are emerging and are commonly used in aerospace manufacturing. For example, thermoplastic and carbon fiber are being combined into a unidirectional pre-impregnated tape which is used by Boeing as an advanced composite material for primary structural parts.
Offering higher production rates, thermoplastic composites naturally meet the demand of applications that require high volume production, such as commercial aircraft.
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