Plastic Innovation: The New Hybrid Thermoplastic

Tri-Mack Plastics Manufacturing Corporation unveiled the results of a recently completed test demonstrating the bond strength of over-moulded thermoplastic composite hybrid parts.

Validating the performance of hybrid composites, the bond between the unidirectional thermoplastic composite and the injection-moulded thermoplastic was shown to be twice as strong as industry standard adhesive and 85% the strength of the base laminate.

This multilayer material is structurally stronger and simpler to process whilst using less energy to do so.

Why is this so important?

Currently aircraft manufacturers face the issue of striking the balance between durability and weight of materials. This new thermoplastic addresses a key customer demand whilst eliminating costs, improving material performance and shorten lead times.

Hybrid thermoplastics are renowned for their lightweight yet strong capabilities, making them the ideal component for aircraft materials.

Tom Kneath, director of sales and marketing at Tri-Mack explains that “our hybrid parts are an example of meeting expanded functionality requirements and customer business goals in one stroke.”

The company’s discovery means engineers can avoid costly and slow-to-produce thermosets and heavier metal components. The influence of this means the delivery delays experienced by major carriers, transport and defence companies is alleviated and the assemblies get to market quicker.

The Future:

The reduced energy required to process these materials could lead to a dramatic cost drop in the airline industry as companies reduce their outgoings do to the financial results of this innovative new material.

Other benefits could include increased airline safety because of the better performing material, reduced emissions due to a less energy intensive manufacturing process, and improved impact damage performance.

Currently such materials have only been produced at laboratory level, but it is the short term aim that a suitable manufacturing process to enable industrial level production should be implemented.

This could lead to immense improvements in the aircraft industry where lighter materials and lower costs are paramount, and as Tom states, “innovation in part design and commitment to technology can help solve these problems.”

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