Navigation Links
Production of FRP components without release agents

If you want to bake a cake, you have to grease the baking pan beforehand; otherwise the cake will stick to it. Making fiber reinforced plastic components (FRP components) is much the same: release agents are wiped or sprayed onto the surface of the mold so that the component can be taken out once it was cured. However, this approach leaves behind residues of release agents on both the component and the mold. Component surfaces must usually then be manually cleaned a painstaking and potentially critical process, since removing too much material has a negative impact on component quality. Molds, too, must be regularly cleaned but the downtime entails a not insignificant price. Now, the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM has developed a release film that renders these cleaning tasks. "Our film can be applied to structures of all kinds and makes it easy to release components from molds," says Dr. Matthias Ott, project manager in the Plasma Technology and Surfaces PLATO section. "It features a 0.3 micrometer thick plasma-polymer release layer that leaves no residues on the surface of the component."

This coating on the film is based on development work conducted at the IFAM on producing non-stick component molds using a low-pressure plasma process. First, the mold to be coated is placed in a plasma reactor and atmospheric pressure is reduced to one 10,000th. Next, layering gases are fed into the reactor and a plasma is ignited. Molecules containing silicon or carbon that are injected into the plasma are deposited as a thin layer. Since the molecules are highly reactive, they bond very well with the mold.

Up to 300 percent elasticity

But there's a snag: plasma reactors are at best five cubic meters in volume, which means only relatively small molds can be coated. So the researchers in Bremen, together with experts from Fraunhofer IFAM's Project Group Joining and Assembly FFM in Stade, decided to strike out in a new direction. "We wanted to make the process available for big components too, for instance in aircraft manufacturing, by means of an appropriate release film," says Dipl.-Ing. Gregor Gral, FFM project manager. While release films are already commercially available, they are very stiff. This means they cannot be deep drawn and are suited only to simple mold contours. The IFAM scientists, on the other hand, are using a film that while tough also demonstrates up to 300 percent elasticity. What's more, at less than 0.1 millimeters it is extremely thin. "That means it can also be applied to curved or structured surfaces without creasing," says Gral.

The challenge that had to be overcome was how to get the coating to stick to the film. "We developed a plasma process which relaxes the release layer. Put another way, the layer enters a state of equilibrium as soon as the plasma is turned off and no more highly reactive particles are formed, and the molecules it contains then organize themselves such that the surface no longer exhibits any reactive groups," explains Ott. As a result, the resin of the composite part does not bond with the release layer, but the release layer bonds very well with the film not detaching even when subjected to forces such as extreme stretching. In contrast to the films available to date, this new film leaves no residues of release agents on FRP components. "We are using what amounts to a new class of materials that, by virtue of their chemical structure, are harder than classic polymers," says Ott.

This film, known as FlexPLAS, has already demonstrated that it can cope with real-life production demands in the FFM development hall. It is currently being tested by a number of customers.

Matthias Ott and his colleague Gregor Gral were honored by Germany's Federation of Reinforced Plastics (AVK), an industry body, with an AVK Innovation Award 2012 for their scientific work. Taking first place in the "Innovative Processes and Procedures" category, the researchers received their award at Composites Europe, the European trade fair and forum for composites, technology and applications, at the beginning of October in Dsseldorf.


Contact: Matthias Ott

Related biology news :

1. CSHL-led team discovers new way in which plants control flower production
2. Agriculture & food production contribute up to 29 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions
3. EyeLock Inc. Brings High-Tech Iris Biometric Production to Texas
4. Brainy beverage: Study reveals how green tea boosts brain cell production to aid memory
5. Clemson plant pathologist working to raise cucurbit yields, lower production costs
6. New process doubles production of alternative fuel while slashing costs
7. Cost-effective production of infrared lenses
8. Childhood obesity may affect timing of puberty, create problems with reproduction
9. The future of biomaterial manufacturing: Spider silk production from bacteria
10. A Kit for increasing insulin production
11. MARC travel awards announced for the 2012 Society for the Study of Reproduction 45th Annual Meeting
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Production of FRP components without release agents
(Date:11/20/2015)... -- NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), ... commerce market and creator of the Wocket® smart wallet, ... interviewed on The RedChip Money Report television ... Bloomberg Europe , Bloomberg Asia, Bloomberg Australia, and ... ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a biometric authentication company ...
(Date:11/18/2015)... , November 18, 2015 ... has published a new market report titled  Gesture Recognition ... and Forecast, 2015 - 2021. According to the report, the global ... and is anticipated to reach US$29.1 bn by 2021, ... North America dominated the ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... EASTON, Mass. , Nov. 17, 2015 ... a leader in the development and sale of broadly ... the worldwide life sciences industry, today announced it has ... of its $5 million Private Placement (the "Offering"), increasing ... to $4,025,000.  One or more additional closings are expected ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... Vancouver , booth ... features Owen Mumford,s unique Comfort Zone Technology®. --> ... is a touch activated lancet that features Owen Mumford,s ... a leading medical device manufacturer, today unveils a new ... in the US before expanding out to other markets. ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015 Oxford Finance LLC ... to life sciences and healthcare services companies, today announced ... loan with MDRejuvena, Inc. ("the Company"). Proceeds from the ... development of the Company,s Rejuvaphyl™ and daily skincare products. ... is the MDRejuvena brand of high potency skincare products ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... RURO, ... best selling system laboratory animal colony management software solution, ezColony®, is now available ... on-site IT resources., , Many organizations are moving to ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... meeting this month and Dr. J. Kyle Mathews will join fellow ... the new single site hysterectomy. , An experienced urogynecologist, founder of Plano Urogynecology ...
Breaking Biology Technology: