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Thermoplastic Composites for Lightweighting Structures: Arkema at JEC World 2018

Published on 2018-03-12. Author : SpecialChem

TAGS:  Thermoplastic Composites     Metal Replacement    

At JEC World 2018, Arkema showcased its unique range of advanced materials and cutting-edge solutions to meet growing demand for lightweighting structures in the transportation, wind power and construction sectors. With its Elium® resin, the Group offers an innovative alternative to the challenging equation that is the recyclability of these materials.

Unique Cutting-edge Solution – Elium Liquid Thermoplastic Resin

The result of Arkema’s research and development, Elium® is the only liquid thermoplastic resin in the market that can be processed with the same manufacturing methods as a thermoset liquid resin.

First showcased at JEC World 2016 in the form of a 6.50 meter prototype sailboat, the Elium® resin has since seen many developments and afforded new growth opportunities, in particular in wind power and construction.

Piece of a Wind Turbine Blade Made of Elium® Resin
Piece of a Wind Turbine Blade Made of Elium® Resin

Elium®, a Choice Material for the Wind Power Market

Following the manufacture in 2017 of a 9 meter demonstration wind turbine blade from the Elium® thermoplastic resin compatible with existing turbine blade manufacturing technologies, a further milestone has now been reached in the development of this resin in the wind power market.

A 25 meter blade has been manufactured with the company Plastinov, which specializes in infusion molds and processes. This process has helped validate the feasibility of producing these components on an industrial scale.

This project is part of the Effiwind program of the CANOE innovation platform which aims to fit the oldest wind turbines with new more efficient 2 meter longer blades. The next stage of this project is the certification of the 25 meter blade before the commissioning, for a series of tests, of a wind turbine fitted with these new blades.

Guillaume Clédat

The 9 meter demonstration blade made from the Elium® thermoplastic resin on the IACMI (Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation) site in the United States has been nominated for a JEC Innovation Award 2018 in the “Sustainable Development” category.

Pultrusion Technology with Elium® Resin
Pultrusion Technology with Elium® Resin

Elium®, for Lightweighting in Construction

The Elium® thermoplastic resin can be processed using a variety of technologies, including pultrusion. In partnership with the IRT M2P Technological Research Institute in Metz, Arkema has developed optimized grades for this specific converting process that helps produce glass fiber or carbon fiber reinforced profiles.

These new composite products open up promising prospects in construction, with two target applications in particular:
Concrete reinforcement: used instead of metal rods or thermoset composite rods, these new composites are corrosion-proof and can easily be thermoformed into shape on site to produce complex structural forms.
Window profiles: the new composites can replace aluminum or PVC or polyester profiles, with their mechanical and insulating properties and their smooth and glossy finish.

Elium®, Thermoplastic Recyclability

Over and above the mechanical recycling of thermoplastics, Arkema is speeding up the development of sustainable solutions that conserve resources and contribute to the circular economy.

Hence, in 2017, our R&D teams were heavily involved in developing the recycling process for composite parts made from the Elium® resin via depolymerization: the parts are ground down coarsely; the Elium® resin is then heat-depolymerized so that it can be recovered and purified into a resin with the same properties as the virgin resin. The remaining carbon or glass fibers can be reused.

Source: Arkema
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