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Prepregs Optimized for Compression Molding (2018 SPE ACCE)

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Continuous fiber reinforced composites are widely recognized as the most predictable, strongest, and toughest form of composite materials. Historically used in ultra high performance applications such as aerospace and competitive sporting goods, pre-pregs were optimized for low volume, extreme performance applications. With the ever increasing demands for lightweight, low FST, low NVH, and strong materials in mass production industries like automotive, prepregs present a compelling design and use case for many applications. This paper will address several modifications that have been made to traditional prepreg to optimize them for use in the established high volume production method of compression molding.

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Prepregs Optimized for Compression Molding (2018 SPE ACCE)

  1. 1. 2018 SPE ACCE Advances in Thermosets Continuous Fiber Pre-Pregs Optimized for High Volume Manufacturing September 5 - 7, 2018 Novi, Michigan creative | collaborative | committed makers of
  2. 2. 2 Locations This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA About Norplex-Micarta pre-pregs | sheets | shapes 250 Employees 300+ Standard Products 100 years of thermoset composite manufacturing and innovation Material Development Applications Engineering Material Characterization
  3. 3. Materials x Process Materials + Process not Start with a winning equation: The challenge: affordability, predictability, high volume
  4. 4. The challenge: affordability, predictability, high volume Chart courtesy of the National Research Council of Canada Continuous Fiber • Strength • Predictability • Repeatability Compression Molding • Existing automotive process ?
  5. 5. The approach: material optimization for an existing process Graphic courtesy of the National Research Council of Canada Prepreg can be fast: • Quick (‘Snap’) Cure Resin Matrices • Stronger = Thinner  Faster Cure • Internal Mold Release  Less Mold Prep • Tack Free Systems  Automated Processes
  6. 6. The approach: material optimization for an existing process Prepreg can be fast: • Quick (‘Snap’) Cure Resin Matrices • Stronger = Thinner  Faster Cure • Internal Mold Release  Less Mold Prep • Tack Free Systems  Automated Processes Prepregs are limited: • Difficult to Vary Cross Section • Limited Geometric Complexity  Difficult to mold in inserts Hybrid Prepreg/Molding Compound is a viable approach: • Prepreg: Strength and Predictability • Molding Compound: Geometric Complexity
  7. 7. Case studies Hybrid Prepreg/Molding Compound is a viable approach: • Prepreg: Strength and Predictability • Molding Compound: Geometric Complexity Addition of Pre-preg improved flex strength 300% Ribs improve stiffness with minimal addition of mass
  8. 8. Pre-preg adds strength: The addition of continuous fiber reinforced pre-preg has a significant effect on the load bearing capacity of a composite part. 22% reduction in thickness 66% increase in max load 300% increase in flex strength Change in thickness is the driver of the change in deflection under load The part did not fully break, even after being compressed 0.700 inches
  9. 9. This part has a nominal 0.032 inch (0.8 mm) wall. This thin wall could not be molded with compound alone. Pre-preg makes thin walls possible: Thinner sections are possible with continuous fiber pre-preg. Max load carrying capacity came at the expected 3 layers of plain weave fiberglass This 6 inch part did not require a more expensive satin weave to properly form
  10. 10. Use geometry to add stiffness: Features common in plastic design excel in minimizing deflection in composite parts. Excellent minimization of deflection with minimal use of mass Molded in inserts, bosses and ribs are all possible
  11. 11. The next steps: optimization in material and process Material Optimizations: • Heavy Weight Reinforcements • Non-Crimp Fabrics to minimize layup procedures • Hybrid reinforcements to tailor modulus, strength, and NVH characteristics Reliable Micromechanical Models Process Optimizations: • Improved methods to control fiber alignment • Automation of “preform” stage • Incorporation of rapid and high resolution heating methods Reliable Process Simulations Materials x Process = Successful Application Design Tools Accelerate Adoption
  12. 12. Addressing the Challenges for Composites in Automotive Applications: Affordable Predictable High Volume www.norplex-micarta.com Dustin Davis Director of Business Development ddavis@norplex-micarta.com cell: +1.317.498.0149

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