Indy and Martijn: Thermoplastic composites are the future!
Indy and Martijn graduated on the research they did at Brightlands Materials Center. Martijn did a research how to implement long fibers into thermoplastic composites. The research of Indy was about recycling these long fiber thermoplastic composites. Resulting in a circular connection between the two projects.
Martijn: ‘We discovered that processing continuous glass fibers with an injection molding machine is possible when using the correct settings and method of inserting the continuous fibers into the mold. Next to that, we discovered implementing continuous glass fibers in an injection molding mold should be done very precisely and subtle to prevent directional changes in the fibers.’
End of life solution
The composite products that are made in the overmolding project need an end of life solution. This is where the recycling project of Indy came in; this project was dedicated to study the end of life solution for these composite products and for thermoplastic composites in general resulting in a circular connection between the two projects. Indy: ‘We recycled continuous glass fibers with different processing techniques. The injection-molding machine is a good method to recycle the continuous fibers. Overall, we found that thermoplastic composite materials can maintain the length of the fibers (and thus the properties) well even after a recycling step.’
Efficient and sustainable
The continuous fiber product will contribute to the lightweight automotive industry as it has excellent mechanical characteristics at a low weight while maintaining an efficient production process and recyclability possibilities. These characteristics result in the fact that during production and use of the product, CO2 emissions are kept at a minimum. Indy and Martijn: ‘The benefits of using thermoplastic composites is the fact that they can be produced more efficiently than thermoset composites and more importantly, thermoplastic composites are recyclable which makes them sustainable. We think they will be used more in the future as sustainability and end of life of a product are becoming more and more important in today’s industry.’