Shape Group (Witney, UK) has successfully applied the sheet molding compound (SMC) to the optimized continuous carbon fiber ShapeTex preforms and made the first batch of parts by compression molding.
This process is usually called secondary molding. In general, the secondary molding is an injection molding composite, but in this case, ShapeTex uses a compressed SMC. ShapeTex prefabricated with continuous carbon fiber bundles, resulting in a significant increase in radial and axial strength of the finished product. The SMC is epoxy resin and the finished product is 4.5 mm thick. The company cannot inform customers specifically for this demonstration. "but this is an encouraging development, and we can use the continuous fibers of the ShapeTex preforms as structural support to reinforce a short fiber laminate to make it easier to flow and fill the mold cavity." (Peter McCool), general manager of Shape. " This technology has a lot of promise," McCool continued. "We've spent a lot of time exploring how to connect the two, and now, it's time to bring it to market. Some of our customers like the aesthetic look of SMC and its ability to use channels, ribs and fixed rollers to press and repair parts, which means we can combine these different features into a composite part. Avoid too complex operations and multiple parts.
The process is developed with thermosetting epoxy resin, using an approved resin system to ensure the best strength of the closed moulding parts. " Although the tests are carried out in flat molds, the process also applies to complex double-curvature parts, a process that Shape will use to target mass applications in the automotive and sports equipment markets.
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