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Honeycomb technology expert EconCore has developed a new core material for laminated sandwich panels made of Sabic’s Noryl GTX resin, which is a mixture of polyphenylene ether (PPE) and polystyrene. Compared with the honeycomb structure made of traditional thermoplastics, the new honeycomb core has higher thermal performance, better dimensional stability and lower water absorption. These properties enable the new core materials to be used in demanding applications such as certain automobiles, electric vehicles and photovoltaic modules. In addition, combining this new type of honeycomb core with a thermoplastic composite skin to produce a fully thermoplastic sandwich panel, combined with a polyamide skin can promote recycling. Performance attributes and enhanced sustainability can open new markets and application opportunities for EconCore honeycombs made from Noryl GTX resin.
Tomasz Czarnecki, Chief Operating Officer of EconCore, said: “We sought expert help from Sabic to use high-performance thermoplastics to reinforce our honeycomb core materials to expand the use of our products in a range of applications and overcome the existing [PP] materials. Limitations." "Our years of cooperation with Sabic and the company's extensive material portfolio make us confident in the success of this initiative. The ease of use of Noryl GTX resin in the conversion process left us a deep impression and appreciated It works well in our existing equipment. We believe its well-balanced characteristics will enable the honeycomb core to be more widely used in transportation, clean energy and electric vehicle applications," Czarnecki said.
According to EconCore, compared to alternative materials such as polyamide, the new honeycomb structure has higher thermal performance, greater dimensional stability and lower water absorption. Due to this high performance, the core material can also exhibit good compatibility with the thermoset composite skin. Due to the high load-bearing capacity of honeycomb, even at temperatures as high as 180°C, it may be an ideal choice for laminating with thermosetting prepregs in processing environments where high curing temperatures are usually applied. Honeycombs may also be used in applications where sandwich panels must provide high performance at high temperatures.
EconCore honeycomb is made from a single, continuous thermoplastic sheet using the company's patented technology. In this unique process, the material is extruded and formed into a honeycomb structure on-line without secondary operations. Specifically, this involves a series of extrusion and thermoforming steps that convert the extruded film into a semi-hexagonal mesh, which is then directly folded into a thermoplastic honeycomb structure.
The high efficiency of this continuous process minimizes production costs and makes the product very economically competitive. In addition, this technology allows the skin lamination step to be integrated with honeycomb core production, providing opportunities for efficient and continuous manufacturing of value-added laminated sandwich panels.
EconCore's technology also provides greater freedom for the design and production of a range of honeycomb cell sizes, core thicknesses and densities. The company has licensed its integrated technology for the production of lightweight honeycomb panels in specific configurations to several leading companies in the industrial packaging, automotive, transportation, and construction and construction industries.
Sabic's Noryl GTX resin can provide heat resistance up to 240°C (465°F) during processing, and its conductivity grade can be used for powder-coated car body panels. Compared with polyamide, Noryl GTX PPE resin has lower water absorption and lower density, thereby reducing part weight. This material provides excellent impact performance and stiffness over a wide temperature range. Sabic is also currently developing a new grade with extremely low temperature impact performance that can be used as a honeycomb core for electric vehicle (EV) battery protection.
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