Thermoplastic composites see a resurgence of interest

July 30, 2020 | Case Study

Thermoplastics have been the fiber reinforced composite matrix of the future for decades. Compared to thermosets, they promise higher production speed and lower production cost, as well as longer shelf life and higher recyclability (especially post-consumer, which is currently relatively difficult and underdeveloped), reparability, and (for some high-performance thermoplastics) impact and heat resistance. However, despite repeated waves of interest and development efforts over the years, low mechanical performance has held back adoption in most applications in aerospace and wind, the largest composite markets. Two trends are now leading to growing adoption and not just interest: increased composite use in high-end automotive, and the emergence of 3D printing as a tool for manufacturing complex thermoplastic composite structures.