RACE READY BOND BETWEEN THERMOSET AND THERMOPLASTIC BIOCOMPOSITES
Bcomp Ltd., (Switzerland)
Partner(s) : KTM Technologies GmbH, Austria - Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials GmbH, Germany - ALBA Tooling & Engineering GmbH, Austria - Altendorfer Kunststofftechnik GmbH, Germany
Scalability: Bonding thermoset and thermoplastic materials
Sustainability: High-performance sustainable raw materials
End-of-Life: Viable EoL-scenario for composites
Design: Showcasing sustainable performance looks
Functionalisation: Best material for each requirement
1st ready to market product which unites motorsport proven natural fibre composite materials and road focused bio-based thermoplastics with a reversible and recycling-ready connection technology.
The innovation is based on KTM’s CONEXUS technology, which allows to combine thermoset and thermoplastic materials via direct chemical bonding. The CONEXUS coupling layer consists of combined molecules, which on one hand establish a molecular binding to thermoset resin and on the other hand to thermoplastic material. This CONEXUS layer is applied to a thermoset part during the curing process. By doing that, a surface with thermoplastic characteristic is created on the cured part. Now the thermoplastic material can, after a quick thermal activation of the surface, be joined to the cured thermoset in a welding or injection moulding process.
Sustainability is becoming one of the main drivers behind all new developments and technologies from sports & leisure to mobility. Following this ideal, the consortium was aiming to design a brake disc cover and use sustainable materials to reduce the carbon footprint, enable responsible end-of-life options and give the part a new optical appearance. For that, Bcomp’s ampliTex™ flax fabric is used to replace the carbon- and glass fibres in the composite and a bio-based thermoplastic PA6 substitutes conventional PA6. Most importantly, the coupling layer not only bonds those different material types, but it also makes it possible to separate them by heating the product to the thermoplast’s softening temperature. This allows the best suited end-of-life option for both technologies to be used – highly efficient thermal energy recovery for the natural fibre composite and recycling for the bio-PA.
The current version of the technology demonstrator uses an industry standard resin system and is market ready. Further improvements are already planned, implementing a bio-based resin system in the next step to enable a near CO2 neutral part. Since the CONEXUS coupling layer was specifically developed for bonding epoxy to Polyamide 6, the formulation will be further adapted, so a wider variety of sustainable material combinations can be used.