Fiber Reinforced Composites (FRCs) offer good mechanical properties at low weight. Thus, FRCs are well suited for lightweight applications in the automotive industry. Thereby, Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites (FRTCs) offer some great advantages over thermosetting materials. In addition to the possibility of reshaping, recycling and welding, small cycling times are attractive regarding mass production.
So far, there is no economic production technology to produce FRTCs in a large scale. Whilst the use of carbon and glass fibers is established in composite manufacturing, another fiber is only barely considered. Basalt fibers offer good mechanical properties at a low price. They are made of volcanic basalt which is almost infinite available.
Especially the high energy absorption capacity of the fibers, along with its small weight may enable this material for the use as crash absorbers in automotive applications. To investigate the suitability of Basalt Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites (BRTCs) for the automotive industry, this paper will focus on a comparison of the basic mechanical properties between carbon, glass and basalt reinforced composites. Therefore, different textile structures are manufactured out of all three reinforcement materials.
As thermoplastic matrix Polyamide 6 (PA6) is used for all samples. Woven fabrics combined with PA6 foils are united during a film stacking process; hybrid woven fabrics and woven fabrics made of hybrid yarns, as well as hybrid non-woven fabrics are produced at the Institute for Textile Technology of RWTH Aachen University, Aachen (ITA). They are then consolidated to FRTCs in a heat pressing process and tested to determine their mechanical properties. In addition to stress and bend tests, impact tests are made to investigate and compare the energy absorption capacity for the varied materials and textile structures.
Institute for Textile Technology of RWTH Aachen University, Aachen (ITA).