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Long Glass Fibers Compounds: Lighter and Tougher than Ever

SpecialChem / Thibaud Deleger – Dec 5, 2012

In use since the mid-nineties the Long Glass Fiber reinforced thermoplastics have made huge progresses since then. With a more than 10 fold increase in the glass fiber length compared to the well-known short glass fibers Long Glass Fibers are just changing the game.

These past two decades saw many applications switching from composites or metal to thermoplastics thanks to the high reinforcement allowed with long glass fibers. The automotive industry is the undisputed leading output for LGF resins (estimated to take no less than 85% of the European consumption of LGF compounds in 2006), but many other smaller markets also use now LGF plastics.

As long as mechanical requirements are high, impact resistance over a wide temperature range needs to be excellent, and the overall part stiffness needs to compete with structural materials like stainless steel or brass LGF resins stand out from the crowd of reinforced plastics. Long Glass Fiber reinforcement is not the only solution to switch from metal to plastics. Numerous highly filled resins with short glass fibers already replaced metal in some applications, but this is usually possible at 50% or 60% glass loading, which has an adverse effect on the expected weight reduction. Using LGF reinforcement allow for metal replacement without adding so high amounts of glass fibers.

Other metal replacement projects go for carbon fibers reinforced materials, but this is when cost is balanced with weight savings. The aircraft industry badly needs to save weight, and pays for this. The automotive industry also needs to save weight, but not at the same price...

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