Blackfabric’s main goal is to offer an innovative option in a market that works mainly with thermoset. In the composites sector thermoset resins have been established as the principal polymeric matrix option. However, due to the climate emergency, the composites sector is evolving to thermoplastic solutions, with a huge potential growth in sectors such as automotive and aeronautics. Blackfabric design, produce and distribute continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastic composites (FRTC), a sustainable option that differs from the conventional non-recyclable thermoset-based composites.
Thermoplastic matrix are plastic polymers that can be moulded at certain high temperature and solidify once are cooled, however, they can be reheated, recycled, and remoulded endlessly, this property is what makes them repairable and even recyclable. On the other hand, thermosets resins are infusible and insoluble polymers, which are consolidated by curing process of the resin through a non-reversible chemical change, while thermoplastic composites are solidified through a reversible thermal curing process.
Thermoplastic composites have countless applications, although they are limited in high temperature applications. They are used in many sectors such as automotive and road transportations, aerospace, marine transportations and ship building, railway vehicles and infrastructure, sports goods, medical and prosthetics, building and civil engineering, defence and security, design, and furniture, and more. You can find thermoplastic compounds in wind turbines, a hockey stick, your computer case, the dashboard of your car, your motorcycle helmet, at airplane seats, race cars, skateboards, in the bike, in the prostheses…
One of the main advantages of working with thermoplastic materials is their high impact resistance, compared to the brittle of thermosets. They offer high quality aesthetic finish, avoiding porosity and lack of resin, achieving uniformity throughout the piece. Besides, they have good adherence to metals, good electrical insulation and resistance to chemicals and detergents.
Thermoplastics stand out for their unlimited or long shelf life. On the contrary, thermosets have a limited storage life prior to curing due to the presence of chemical cross-linkages across the molecular structure, which are affected by environmental conditions such as humidity and temperature, therefore they need to be stored properly in a dry and cryogenic environment.
On the other hand, thermoplastic have a shorter processing time and are well suited for high-volume rate production, while thermosets need a prolonged curing time. In addition, thermoplastic have a lower manufacturing cost, because they can be produced with shorter stamping or thermoforming processes, reducing times, and avoiding manual processes of filing and polishing resin leftovers.
Blackfabric is offering high drapability thermoplastic prepregs which are really easy to manipulate, cut and they adapt perfectly to all geometries.
Moreover, thermoplastics can be transported in regular conditions without the need to use a special vehicle with a dry and cryogenic environment. While thermosets need a proper conditionate transport to avoid early curing.
Thermoplastics can be remoulded once are heated, and once are cooled they restore their rigid structure. Therefore, they are recyclable. However, thermosets are permanently change and become “set” in a new configuration once exposed to heat, therefore, they are not recyclable.