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9th March 2017, The Netherlands

DSM to showcase innovative composite solutions at JEC World 2017

DSM makes its return this month to JEC World, the largest international gathering of composites professionals, with its growing portfolio of high-performance composites, including Dyneema Carbon and Dyneema flexible composites, along with a range of thermoplastic unidirectional (UD) tapes, and Somos 3D printing materials.

DSM, the producer of Dyneema ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMwPE) fibre, developed a hybrid, thermoset resin-based composite called Dyneema Carbon by combining Dyneema with carbon fibre. The resulting material is said to significantly improve the performance of pure carbon composites in terms of weight, impact resistance, ductility and vibrational dampening, the manufacturer reports.

Emergency outdoor jacket with Dyneema composite fabric. © DSM Dyneema

At the other end of the spectrum, its Dyneema flexible composites have been developed to dramatically increase tear, puncture and abrasion performance compared with 500D nylon, while also cutting weight and reducing bulk.

“By collaborating closely with brand owners and partners up and down the supply chain, we are developing novel applications that make the most of all that Dyneema fibre can offer in the form of both hybrid and flexible composites,” said DSM Dyneema President Golnar Motahari Pour. “And the results are impressive.”

Dyneema innovations

Marrying carbon with Dyneema fibre can increase impact energy absorption by up to 100% while removing the risk of splintering, according to Golnar Motahari Pour. DSM is working with Toyota Motor Sports and evaluating Dyneema Carbon for wider use in racing cars. It already is being used in the OMP-brand racing steering wheel. OMP says that using Dyneema Carbon hybrid composite has helped them achieve a superior balance in stiffness and impact resistance, resulting in improved driver safety, the company reports.

As a fabric component, meanwhile, Dyneema flexible composites are becoming increasingly popular in high-performance sports apparel and athletic sportswear, such as outdoor jackets and compact, waterproof, roll-top backpacks. These materials can be tailored and optimized for strength, stretch and weight, as well as for thickness overall and at specific points or along predetermined load paths. They have found use in an emergency outdoor jacket, for example, that is superlight (less than 80 grams total), as well as wind- and waterproof. It is ideal for hikers, cyclists and others to use as an easily packable jacket that can keep them warm and dry in emergency circumstances.

UD tapes for lightweight strength

Also at JEC World, DSM will display its latest advances in unidirectional, continuous fibre-reinforced, thermoplastic tapes. The firm’s broader strategy extends well beyond just supplying the product, to offering robust application and design support. The company is forming business partnerships to make large-scale, lightweight, UD tape-based components with brand owners, leading suppliers and plastics converters.

OMP Racing steering wheel with Dyneema Carbon. © DSM Dyneema

DSM’s polyamide-based UD tapes with carbon or glass fibre longitudinal reinforcement offer a viable, lightweight alternative to metal in several applications. UD tapes and tape-based sheets support structural and semi-structural components, as well as injection moulded parts with localised UD tape reinforcement. Such tapes have fibre contents up to 65% by weight and widths from 6 to 800 mm.

In one current application, a demonstration vehicle door panel made from UD tapes developed within the European Union-sponsored ENLIGHT project shows the extreme lightweighting possible with such materials. Tapes provided by DSM in carbon fibre-reinforced EcoPaXX, as well as fabric sheets woven from the tape, were thermoformed and glued to make the panel, which is 60% lighter than state-of-the-art, steel-based designs, while still fulfilling safety requirements. The full composite door consists of structural panels and a tape-wound side impact beam over an extruded permanent mandrel.

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