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Victrex Polymer Solutions has announced that Tissa Glasweberei has developed composite fabrics made out of thermoplastic unidirectional tapes (UD-tapes) made with Victrex materials.

Victrex PEEK polymer in the form of powder or granules is used as a matrix material in the manufacture of advanced thermoplastic composite prepregs made of carbon, glass or aramid continuous fibres.

Using UD-tapes based on S-2 Glass, or carbon fibres that are fully impregnated with Victrex PEEK polymer, the Tissa fabrics help customers reduce the cycle time required for press forming of the fabrics into composite parts.

Tissa’s process, which was developed to reduce cycle time and manufacturing costs, weaves fully impregnated UD-tapes made with Victrex PEEK polymer into composite fabrics, eliminating the need for post-impregnation during later press forming.

Traditionally, composite fabrics are manufactured by coating the raw fabric with polymers, but the fabrics are not fully impregnated with the polymer so final impregnation is required during press forming.

Since Tissa’s fabrics are woven with fully impregnated UD-tapes, they only need a consolidation step under heat to bond the layers, which reduces the time and cost to manufacture.

Tissa’s woven thermoplastic fibre-reinforced composite fabrics are said to have numerous advantages, including good mechanical properties due to high fibre content up to 65 per cent, higher damage tolerance when compared with thermoset-based fabrics, high fatigue strength and stiffness and good integration of the fibre in the matrix, resulting in longer life and a reduction of the structural weight of the composite part.

These characteristics exploit the performance properties of Victrex PEEK polymer, including service temperature of up to 260C, high resistance to chemicals and solvents, and wear resistance to provide superior mechanical properties under both static and dynamic load conditions.

Due to their thermoplastic nature, Tissa fabrics can be stored at ambient temperature eliminating the need for additional storage costs required for expensive cooling systems, such as refrigeration.

In addition, Tissa fabrics are environmentally friendly since they are based on Victrex PEEK polymer, which is solvent-free and recyclable.

The company’s flexible production technique allows for multiple combinations of different types of fibres and matrices.

The composite fabrics are tailored for use in end-use aerospace, industrial and medical applications that do not have complex-shaped parts such as flat structures and panels.

By heating up the prepregs and press forming for two to three minutes a panel, thickness of 2mm is possible.

The woven fabrics made of fully impregnated tapes are safe and easy to handle.

Therefore, such prepreg fabrics are especially suited for automated processes as well as out-of-autoclave manufacturing methods.

Samples for testing are available and Tissa is actively working with OEMs, designers, and parts manufacturers to utilise its composite fabrics made with Victrex PEEK polymer to displace metals and thermosets in a range of applications.

Victrex Europe

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