Objectives and content
The automotive industry and other industrial sectors such as electrical appliances need more and more reinforced thermoplastic materials, which combine the potentialities of weight saving, competitive cost and recyclability while offering sufficient mechanical performances for a large range of applications. It is the case of polypropylene, which constitutes the most attractive matrix for commodity products in these markets. However, good adhesion with glass fibers are currently obtained by modifying the polypropylene matrix with polar chemical coupling agents, altering significantly the cost (10 % increase) of the final composite products. This additional cost appears today very penalizing for the development of polypropylene in the car industry due to the preponderance of cost criteria in this sector. Thus, there is a strong need of the automotive industry for low cost polypropylene based composites having higher mechanical performances.
The main objective of the present project is to reduce the cost of glass fibers / polypropylene compounds by 20 % compared to current compounds. This is a very ambitious objective because industrial processes existing in the field of thermoplastics composites are very well optimized, 1% gain being considered as a significant result. The aim of the present project will be reached only by a technological break through.
When this first objective is reached, the second objective of this project is to increase mechanical properties of these compounds by 10 % compared to the current compounds, which also constitutes a very ambitious aim for these products.
The technical approach of this project is based on the suppression of all the expensive chemical couplers added to the current polypropylene by developing a new adhesion promotion system deposited at the glass fiber surface. Thus, the new materials to be developed in this project will consist of:
- a short glass fiber coated with a new chemical coating compatible with polypropylene,
- a standard (pure) polypropylene matrix or a low cost modified one. The consortium includes a manufacturer of reinforced polypropylene compounds and composites (Borealis) as a end user, a manufacturer of industrial glass fibers (Vetrotex) as a developer, a supplier of specialty chemicals for fiber coating (Achitex) as a developer, a glass research center of a glass company (Saint-Gobain) as a R&D performer, and a polymer research institute (Institut für Polymer Forschung) as a R&D performer.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
26010 Vaiano Cremasco Cremona