Industry News

IKV Conducts Research to Explore Potential of Injection-molded LFRTs

Published on 2014-08-07. Author : SpecialChem

AACHEN -- The Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) in Industry and the Skilled Crafts at RWTH Aachen University is currently carrying out research into a calculation procedure for long fiber-reinforced injection-molded thermoplastic materials (LFT). This material has established itself for use in highly stressed structural components, especially in the automotive industry. However, the potential of LFT is far from exhausted. To tap new applications, the availability of reliable calculation procedures is one of the basic requirements.

Because of their property profile, long fiber-reinforced thermoplastic materials fill the gap between short fiber-reinforced thermoplastics (SFT) and continuous fiber-reinforced materials with thermosetting matrix systems. Compared with short fiber-reinforced thermoplastics, long fiber-reinforced thermoplastics offer above all the advantage of higher strength and impact resistance. Compared with thermosetting materials, they have advantages in the injection molding process because of their economical processing. Calculation processes for SFT already available on the market can, however, only be applied to a limited extent for the calculation of LFT because the mathematical models used for short fibers are only partly valid for long fibers due to the simplifications they make. These involve firstly the calculation of fiber orientations and secondly the assumption of a homogeneous fiber length within the composite. It is important to take into account that the fibers in LFT components orientate themselves in the melt more slowly than short fibers, and that the fibers tend to break when processing long fibers, resulting in a specific fiber length distribution.

The aim of the IKV research project is therefore to establish an integrative calculation procedure for LFT. This model sets out both to calculate the fiber orientations with the aid of orientation models developed specifically for long fibers, and to take into account the fiber length distribution. With the aid of experimentally determined measurements, the fiber orientation models and the mechanical material description are calibrated by reverse engineering. With the help of a practical sample component, the calculation method will subsequently be validated.

The project is funded via the AiF (Confederation of Industrial Research Associations) by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Technology (BMWi).

About IKV

IKV, the Institute of Plastics Processing at RWTH Aachen University, is Europe-wide one of the biggest research and education institute engaged in the field of plastics processing enjoying outstanding reputation. More than 300 staff are employed in finding solutions to problems connected with processing, materials technology and part design in the plastics and rubber industries. IKV's close contacts with industry and science, together with its outstanding facilities, enable cutting-edge research in plastics technology and ensure that students benefit from a comprehensive, practically oriented course of study. Plastics engineering graduates from IKV are thus soughtafter experts in industry. In organizational terms, IKV is divided up into the four specialist departments of Injection Molding, Extrusion and Rubber Technology, Part Design and Materials Technology, and Composites and Polyurethane Technology. The Institute also takes in the Centre for Analysis and Testing of Plastics, and the Training and Further Education department. IKV is run by an Association of Sponsors, which currently has a membership of around 250 plastics companies from all over the world. Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Hopmann is Head of the Institute and Managing Director of the Association of Sponsors. He also holds the Chair of Plastics Processing at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University.

Source: IKV

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