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23rd October 2018, Thornton Cleveleys

Victrex to present at thermoplastic composites conference

How PAEK thermoplastic composites and related hybrid overmoulding processes can open a broader range of manufacturing options for aerospace parts will be one of the central topics at the ITHEC 2018 - 4th International Conference & Exhibition on Thermoplastic Composites, which takes place in Bremen, Germany, next week.

Several companies, including Victrex, will present their results on the potential of lower melting PAEK polymer solutions to address unmet challenges around the large-scale automation and production of PAEK thermoplastic composites, including functionalization by hybrid overmoulding.

Victrex AE 250 bracket and tape. © Victrex

The combination of a Victrex PAEK polymer and reinforcing carbon fibres is said to offer mechanical properties that are consistent with the requirements for structural aerospace applications. “The resulting Victrex AE 250 based thermoplastic composite solutions take centre stage in papers and poster presentations at the upcoming ITHEC conference and serve to demonstrate how PAEK thermoplastic polymers continue to be an active source of innovation. Forty years after the invention of PEEK (polyetheretherketone) the best is yet to come,” the company reports.

Composites based on traditional PAEK polymers, such as PEEK and related polymers, need to be processed at temperatures in the range of 360°C - 400°C. “With a melting temperature of 305°C, our newest polymer processes at between 340°C -360°C, allowing composite parts to be manufactured faster and cheaper with added functionality using fast automated lay-up, out of autoclave processing, hot stamping, and injection overmoulding,” explained Dr Stuart Green, Market Technology Manager at Victrex, in the run up to the conference.

Dr Green will present his research work in a poster illustrating how Victrex AE250 unidirectional prepreg tape is compatible with a range of lay-up and consolidation techniques, including automated fibre placement (AFP), oven and press consolidation.

Conference participants can expect an insight into the highly dynamic evolution of composites technology and the wide span of the associated field of research. Other presentations include, for instance, injection forming of gears on high-performance CF-PAEK drive shafts, the assessment of interface strength in overmoulded structures, and the developments and future challenges of processing thermoplastic composites.

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