School of Engineering and Materials Science Research
All-Polymer CompositesCollaborators: F. Mai, B. Alcock, N.M. Barkoula, C.T. Reynolds and T. Peijs
The Polymer Technology Group at QMUL has a long track record in the area of “self-reinforced polymer” composites or “all-polymer” composites. In a collaborative research programme together with Eindhoven University of Technology and Lankhorst-Indutech from The Netherlands, the group co-developed PURE - a technology to produce self-reinforced polypropylene (sr-PP) or all-PP composites – with mechanical properties up to 10 times those of bulk polypropylene (PP). All-PP takes normal PP and by heating and solid-state drawing treatments it aligns the molecules to make the end product much stronger and stiffer, without any weight gain. The technology is based on highly engineered 'A-B-A' co-extruded tape with a highly drawn polypropylene interlayer sandwiched between lower melting polypropylene skins. The interior layer delivers the high strength and stiffness properties to the material while the skin layer acts as the matrix material bonding the composite together with the application of heat and pressure and results in 100% polypropylene composites which are fully recyclable. The developed technology is currently commercialized by Pure Composites BV in The Netherlands (PURE®) and its licensee Milliken in the U.S. (Tegris®). Applications range from automotive panels to suitcases, flight cases, helmets and sports equipment. The material has gained a lot of interest because of its high impact resistance and because of this it is utilized in the U.S. by NASCAR and Indycar as an alternative to carbon fibre to protect racecar drivers. It is also used in the automotive industry for vehicle bumpers, impact-resistant kayaks and as material for anti-ballistic armour and protective blankets.
In recent years, the group’s research into all-polymer composites has moved towards multilayer system based on 100+ layer and other polymer systems such as polyethylene (PE), poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), polyamide (PA), polylactide acid (PLA), cellulose and aramid. Self-reinforced PE composites are currently being developed for anti-ballistic applications, while all-PET and all-aramid composites are being developed for higher temperature resistance products. Fully biobased and biodegradable all-cellulose composites are being developed based on various cellulose resources.
All-PP tapes, fabric and thermoformed part.
Schematic of co-extrusion process (left) together with polarized cross-section of consolidated bicomponent polypropylene tapes (right; high-strength homopolymer core in green and copolymer adhesive in yellow)
Related site: http://www.pure-composites.com