JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #112 - April/May 2017 - 48
Closing the loop for thermoplastic composites
The intent to "Think ThermoPlastic" is an integrated concept to position the
Toho Tenax Group as a responsible partner to the industry. The development of
carbon fibre-based lightweight, high-performance composites mainly targets
the weight reduction of aircraft.
Sales Manager Aerospace
FRTP (Carbon Fibre-Reinforced
Thermoplastics) could take a leading
role in reducing fuel consumption,
improving the efficiency and the direct
operating costs of an aircraft. Apart from
the unique Tenax® high-performance
materials for fast production processes, the
group is also developing innovative "green"
composite recycling solutions to meet environmental and economic requirements.
The ability to recycle these highly valuable
materials will become a more dominating
factor in general material selection for the
aerospace industry, as is already the case
in the automotive field with its stringent
standards. The Tenax® recycling innovations are based on reclaimed materials
from CFRTP production.
Toho Tenax has been active in the CFRTP
market for many years as it strongly develops the range of Tenax® thermoplastics
to enable customers to combine fast
processing times with high mechanical
performance. Tenax®-E ThermoPlastic
Consolidated Laminates (TPCL), consolidated laminates made of several layers
of ThermoPlastic Woven Fabric (TPWF),
are qualified for use in clips and brackets
for the A350XWB aircraft, Airbus'
new-generation extra-wide-body midsize
In consideration of the A350XWB
production ramp-up and the increasing
consumption of these highly valuable
materials, efforts have been made to
develop recycling solutions that can be
immediately implemented. Toho Tenax's
intention was to develop a closed-loop
concept for thermoplastic materials and to
recapture the exceptional properties of this
high-performance material combination.
Using different reprocessing techniques,
the company can offer a variety of recycled
materials which can be converted and returned back by customers into non-structural aircraft parts.
Toho Tenax is developing different "green"
CFRTP routes for individual products in
order to serve a wider field of potential
production processes and applications.
In this context, the group intends to offer
Tenax®-E TWPF PEEK-HTA40 Chips,
which are made of carbon fibre and virgin
PEEK (poly-ether-ether-ketone) polymer.
The TPWF material is reclaimed during
the production process of the A350 XWBqualified Tenax® TPCL and reprocessed
into Tenax® Chips using a cutting process.
The concept is to offer the material in a
variety of sizes, such as ±5 mm x 5 mm
or even up to ±50 mm x 50 mm. The chip
jec composites magazine / No112 April - May 2017
Fig. 1 (from top to bottom): Tenax® TPWF
Chips, Tenax® TPCL Crushed, Tenax®
Compound PEEK CF 30
sizes are specified by the market needs as
well as the processability and requirements
of the final components.
3D stamp forming process
A 3D stamp forming process with thermoplastic materials allows the production of