Development of Continuous Fibre Reinforced Thermoplastics Pre-Impregnated Composites (Prepreg)
Manufacturing fibre reinforced thermoplastic composite with shorter process cycle can be achieved by using prepreg as a starter material and post formed to parts via thermoforming, filament winding, or automatic tape placement. Besides improving the consolidation speed of composite, the use of prepreg also enhances quality and versatility of laminate-composite parts.
Contact PersonTong Kin Kong, Steven(steven@SIMTech.a-star.edu.sg)
SIMTech has developed a continuous direct melt impregnation process to produce prepreg with different fibre and thermoplastic matrix systems (e.g. natural fibre – polypropylene, natural fibre – PLA, glass fibre – polypropylene, carbon fibre – polyamide). The matrix-fibre combination is highly versatile, and can accommodate nano-modified matrix systems and random short fibre rolls.
The challenges in manufacturing continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastics composites include difficulty in impregnation with high viscosity polymer melts into fibre bundles, competing conditions for production speed and quality, as well as poor fibre-matrix interfacial adhesion. Composite manufacturing using high quality pre-impregnated composite (prepreg) improves the consolidation speed, quality and versatility of the final laminate-composite parts.
Our research also studies the use of natural plant fibres extensively to develop green, sustainable composites that possesses good damping properties, high specific stiffness and low carbon footprint. Composites made entirely from plant-derived polymers and fibres (e.g. PLA, Bio-PE) are able to eliminate the dependency on fossil fuel for raw material sources. Prepregs can also be designed to be biodegradable or recyclable at the end-of-life.