What are thermoplastic composites?
Thermoplastic composite (TPC) materials boast outstanding characteristics which make them valuable as a substitute for metals. One of the biggest differentiators is their light weight – TPCs are up to 50 percent lighter than steel and up to 30 percent lighter than aluminum. This makes TPCs ideal for OEMs who want to develop lighter, chemical resistant, and/or cost-effective parts.
Solvay already has deep expertise in the production of TPC prepreg tapes through multiple routes. We also have significant experience with the production of carbon fiber. This area is being continuously developed through strategic acquisitions and the evolution of Solvay’s own carbon fiber manufacturing sites.
Our product range includes:
- The broadest portfolio of specialty polymers such as PEKK, PEEK, PAEK, PPS, PVDF, and PPA.
- Continuous fiber thermoplastic composites. These materials typically combine continuous carbon and/or glass fibers in a thermoplastic matrix.
- Thermoplastic resins. The resins can be compounded with short (< 3 mm) and long fibers (~ 10 mm).
Solvay: uniquely positioned to provide TPC leadership
Although thermoplastic composites (TPCs) are regarded as a ‘modern’ material, they have been around for many decades. Only Solvay can bring together our experience and knowledge of these materials. And we have an experienced Research & Innovation team which is focused on developing the next generation of products that will meet the demanding needs of our customers.
We believe that no other company can match Solvay’s expertise and capabilities in TPCs. Our expertise dates to the 1980s and our first forays into the development of TPCs for the aerospace sector. By the early 2000s, the potential of TPCs to lightweight airplanes was being actively explored by major OEMs such as Airbus and Boeing.
Through our acquisition of Cytec, Solvay gained significant experience in the aerospace sector which we were able to vertically integrate with our existing expertise in TPCs. The result is a strong and unique platform targeting our traditional aerospace market, and sectors such as automotive and oil and gas, where TPCs can make a significant difference to lightweighting and production cycles.
Today Solvay offers an unmatched portfolio of high-performance thermoplastic polymers and deep expertise in the production of thermoplastic composite prepreg tape. We also have unparalleled expertise in the engineering of production processes to ensure the technology can be integrated seamlessly into your manufacturing lines.