Pelletised Self-Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites - PELTEC

Lead Participant: Netcomposites Limited

Abstract

A “composite” material typically consists of a plastic matrix with reinforcing fibres, the
combination of which provides moulded components that are simultaneously stiff, strong and light. Composites are widely used in many sectors including automotive, aerospace and construction.
An emerging family of composite materials is the Self-Reinforced Plastic (SRP). These are thermoplastic composites in which both the matrix and the fibre reinforcement are from the same polymer family (e.g. polypropylene-reinforced polypropylene). SRPs provide a number of advantages over traditional composites: they are easily recycled (no need to separate the fibre and the matrix at end-of-life), they have lower densities (lighter weight), they are readily formed by the application of pressure and heat, they have outstanding impact performance, and they reduce tool wear during processing.
The first generation of SRPs were only available in sheet form. This limited the available
processing options and achievable production volumes, and consequently the market
opportunity. However, NetComposites has recently participated in the development of
pelletised forms of SRPs that can be used in conjunction with a wider range of manufacturing processes, including injection moulding. These significantly increase the market opportunity for SRPs beyond the currently available sheet forms.
This project seeks to optimise the production of pelletised SRPs through the development of a demonstrator pilot line. In doing so, it will bring the UK to the forefront of this emerging technology by providing the know-how and means to supply the plastics industry with pelletised SRP intermediate materials for the next generation of reinforced mouldings.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Netcomposites Limited, Chesterfield £517,547 £ 232,893

Publications

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