Haydale Composite Solutions (HCS) has launched three graphene enhanced carbon fibre pre-impregnated (prepreg) products in collaboration with SHD Composite Materials (Sleaford, Lincolnshire, UK) using epoxy resins from Huntsman Advanced Materials.
The products to be launched by SHD and HCS include a structural component carbon fibre prepreg, a prototype “Out-of-Autoclave” curing carbon fibre tooling prepreg capable for fast composite part production in autoclave processing and a higher operating temperature prepreg for enhanced life and very high accuracy tooling.
According to Haydale, the primary drivers in the development of the structural component prepreg were to increase the impact resistance and compression after impact performance of carbon fibre reinforced epoxy components through the addition of graphene nanomaterials. It is anticipated that this will enable designers to develop lighter and more efficient carbon fibre reinforced epoxy structures where impact is the principal design consideration. Key target applications for this new prepreg include aerospace, automotive and high performance sports goods such as bike frames, fishing rods and racing boats.
Haydale explains that, development of the higher operating temperature prepreg is targeted at producing tooling systems with increased thermal conductivity (to reduce process cycle times), significantly reduced spring-back and greatly improved accuracy, improved surface finish and hardness, better impact resistance and finally increased resistance to micro-cracking through life over currently available prepreg materials.
These new graphene enhanced prepreg materials are currently going through extensive evaluation and are available as prototype products to interested companies for their particular areas of application. The Technical Support teams from SHD and HCS will offer assistance in material selection and initial development of parts and tooling to interested companies and organisations planning to gain market leadership in the aforementioned sectors.
Nick Smith, Technical Director of SHD Composites, commented, “As part of our commitment to remain at the forefront of composites technology we feel that it is vital to explore the benefits that graphene can bring to our products. We see great potential in this exciting material to enhance the performance of our range of component and tooling materials.”
Haydale Composite Solutions Commercial Director, Nigel Finney, added, “This has the potential to be a real game changer for the composites industry. We are very excited about the significant improvements in thermal and mechanical performance of graphene enhanced carbon epoxy prepreg structures and look forward to further developing a novel generation of carbon fibre epoxy prepreg materials. We believe we are on the verge of a whole new range of graphene based polymer nanocomposites with some exciting and unique properties, which we believe will be of significant interest to the composite market always looking for enhanced performance.”