The use of thermoplastics and the customized bonding between carbon fibers and matrices for application-optimized lightweight materials
Utilizing lightweight materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastic makes it possible to reduce weight by up to 60 %, for example in automobile manufacturing, as compared to conventional steel construction. The result is a potential reduction in fuel consumption, thus significantly increasing energy efficiency in the mobility segment. The use of thermoplastic matrix polymers is the focus of the MAI Polymer research project. Polymers demonstrate great potential for short cycle times in the manufacturing of large-scale series production components required by the automotive industry, since they can be repeatedly melted and simply reshaped, thereby achieving the required functional properties for the applications.
The bond between the carbon fiber and matrix is essential for the mechanical properties and the chemical and thermal resistance of a fiber composite. As part of the project, extensive studies are planned which will initially examine the interactions between fiber and matrix. This is an important basis for optimally aligning the fiber and thermoplastic matrix for specific application areas. The goal of the MAI Polymer project is to improve the mechanical performance of the thermoplastic composite materials and create greater stability against environmental influences. One vision is to increase the solubility of the fiber from the matrix by modifying the fiber-matrix interface area in the project, in order to lay the foundation for new and efficient recycling processes.
Figure: Investigation of the influence of the coating on the fiber-matrix-connection through the single fiber push-out test
Regional knowledge transfer
The parameters and material characteristics of the thermoplastic composite materials developed within the project will be compiled in a database of material-related system solutions. The goal is to establish a comprehensive database and develop evaluation standards for thermoplastic composites, which will then be used when advising companies with regard to the selection of application-specific thermoplastic systems.