The new lightweight composite team at BASF can draw on the company's know-how in the areas of polyurethane, epoxy and polyamide chemistry.
The new lightweight composite team at BASF can draw on the company's know-how in the areas of polyurethane, epoxy and polyamide chemistry.

The team will focus on the development of materials and technologies suitable for manufacturing high-performance fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) parts for automotive applications.

BASF has a broad product portfolio and it is able to offer three different plastic matrix systems. It intends to develop tailor-made formulations in close cooperation with customers.

"We can build here on BASF’s know-how in the areas of epoxy, polyurethane and polyamide chemistry, want to exploit the synergies in the team and will be making a double-digit million euro investment in development in the coming years," explains Willy Hoven-Nievelstein, head of the BASF Engineering Plastics Europe business unit.

RTM

In the new resin transfer moulding (RTM) laboratory in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and polyurethane research facility in Lemförde, Germany, BASF is working on the chemical and technical challenges posed by the new matrix solutions.

In addition to the mechanical performance of the finished composite part, good flow characteristics and a short curing time of the resin components are the primary challenges with all three material systems.

BASF offers epoxy and polyurethane systems under the brand names Baxxodur® and Elastolit® R, respectively, and BASF epoxy resin systems used in the rotor blades of wind turbines. These products employ novel curing mechanisms, and thanks to their low initial viscosity, they impregnate the fibre structures very well and then cure within only a few minutes. They can be processed on high- as well as low-pressure equipment.

New polyamide systems currently under development can be welded easily and recycled.