BASF at the JEC in Paris: Competence in Composites
- Automotive lightweighting: Polyurethane in the BMW i3 and reactive polyamide materials development
- Wind power: New materials for various rotor blade manufacturing technologies
As a supplier and development partner for composite applications involving polyurethanes, epoxy resins and thermoplastics, BASF will be participating in the "JEC Composites Show", which runs from March 11 to 13, 2014 in Paris, Hall 7.2, Booth F 51. This trade fair is considered one of the world's most important exhibitions for specialty materials.
BMW i3 seat pan manufactured from carbon fibers and a PU matrix
The self-supporting rear seat pan for the BMW i3 was produced using the Elastolit® polyurethane system from BASF by the automotive supplier F.S. Fehrer Automotive, for which the company was honored with one of the SPE awards in the "body interior" category in 2013. Here, carbon fiber materials were used in combination with a polyurethane matrix for the first time in a production vehicle. The component integrates a variety of functions such as a cupholder mount and storage shelf, eliminating assembly operations and saving weight. Elastolit from BASF is characterized by its wide process window as well as high fatigue strength and damage tolerance. Thanks to the special properties of the material, the crash-relevant part fulfills the strict safety requirements of BMW despite its wall thickness of only 1.4 millimeters.
Cooperation for low-pressure T-RTM technology
Machinery manufacturer Mahr Metering Systems and BASF have for some time been jointly developing material and system solutions for the T-RTM process (thermoplastic resin transfer molding). At the JEC, Mahr (Hall 7.3, Booth R 35) will be exhibiting an initial prototype of a self-cleaning mixing head that is part of a machine concept for processing reactive polyamide by means of inexpensive low-pressure RTM technology. The goal is to develop a robust and automatic system with short cycle times that is suitable for high-volume production.
At the same time, BASF has been optimizing its first reactive polyamide systems for these economically relevant, fast production cycles. These are two-component systems based on caprolactam, an appropriate additive system and fibers with compatible sizings. What is special about these systems is their low viscosity and long flow paths compared to other reactive resins, making them especially suitable for low-pressure RTM technology. Through this joint effort, the two companies hope to facilitate the introduction of anionic polymerizing polyamide 6 to the market – for future volume production of structural thermoplastic composite components.
Demonstrator in boat building: Polyamide vacuum infusion and B-pillar prototype in high-pressure RTM
Exhibiting a kayak as an example, BASF, together with the Munich-based industrial designer Jan Haluszka, will be demonstrating that also the vacuum infusion technique (VARI) is suitable for manufacturing thermoplastic composite parts from reactive thermoplastics systems. With a length of over 2.6 meters, the exhibited boat is one of the largest parts produced to date from reactive polyamide by means of vacuum infusion. Using a vacuum of 0.9 bar, it was possible to fill the part with the low-viscosity two-component system in only 60 seconds. The feasibility study showed that the vacuum infusion technique could indeed be an option for developing large thermoplastic composites from reactive polyamide systems.
Finally, the first fiber-reinforced composite prototype from Volkswagen, produced using a reactive polyamide system from BASF with high-pressure RTM equipment will be exhibited as well. The part, a B-pillar reinforcement, is 36 percent lighter than the steel version currently used in production.
Winding technology and pultrusion for rotor blade production – with a new epoxy system and polyurethane resin
At the JEC, BASF will present two new materials that can be used in processes for manufacturing components used in wind-based power generation. Root segments for rotor blades can be manufactured through use of filament winding technology. With its Baxxodur® System 6100, BASF is able to offer a new epoxy system for the special requirements of this technology: the system (approved by German Lloyd) exhibits good impregnation characteristics and has an open time that permits production of larger parts. Filament winding technology simplifies the time-consuming production process for rotor blades which lowers manufacturing costs.
To securely attach the root of the rotor blade to the hub of the wind turbine, a fiber-reinforced component made from Elastocoat® C6226-100 polyurethane resin by means of pultrusion can be used. BASF developed this resin to manufacture pultruded rods together with its partner Fiberline Composites A/S in Denmark. Pultrusion allows better alignment of the fibers as well as in-line incorporation of a threaded metal bushing. This ensures consistently high production quality and an extremely stable part. Furthermore, fewer process steps are needed in production, which reduces the manufacturing time and material costs. Both the pultruded part produced from the Elastocoat material and a 12-centimeter thick root ring manufactured from glass fiber-reinforced Baxxodur will be exhibited at the booth.
Blade cross-section demonstrates wide range of offerings
BASF will also present the cross-section of a wind turbine rotor blade that is intended to demonstrate the wide range of products and solutions available from the company for rotor blade manufacturing – from the Baxxodur epoxy resin system through Kerdyn® PET (polyethylene terephthalate) structural foam and RELEST® gel coat system to Elastan® semi-structural polyurethane adhesive. Under static and dynamic loads, the PET foam ensures stability. For this reason it is primarily used inside rotor blades. Kerdyn is certified by German Lloyd and available in densities of 80, 100 and 115 kilograms per cubic meter. Besides the wind power industry, the PET foam is also used in the transportation, construction and marine industries.
Next to the rotor blade cross-section, a spar cap is on display – manufactured with carbon fibers immersed in Baxxodur. Because of their strength and rigidity, these spar caps are being used increasingly for large rotor blades. During the infusion process, the Baxxodur system ensures fast and complete impregnation of the carbon fiber layers.
Overall, the range available from BASF encompasses a variety of epoxy resin and hardener systems, which addresses the trend toward ever larger parts as well as the increasing number of production processes encountered. The use of so-called latent hardeners gives processors a considerably longer processing time while simultaneously shortening the production time needed by up to 30 percent.
Meet us at “JEC Composites Show”
Paris, March 11-13, 2014, Porte de Versailles,
Hall 7.2, booth F 51
Notes for editors:
A press photo can be found at www.basf.com/pressphoto-database, under the heading “Plastics” or by entering the search term "JEC". Text and photo will also be available shortly in the Plastics BASF press archive: www.basf.de/plastics/pressreleases
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of about €74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.