Continuous fiber-reinforced composites with thermoplastic matrix resins are very well suited for use in automotive manufacturing. However, to manufacture them is complicated. A new approach involving in-mold polymerization of the matrix resin developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT (Pfinztal, Germany) and Engel Austria GmbH (Schwertberg) now reportedly makes it possible to use the injection molding process.
To date, it has been very laborious to manufacture fiber-reinforced composites with a thermoplastic matrix in large quantities according to the development partners. On the one hand, textile-like dense continuous fiber-reinforced structures are difficult to shape; on the other, joining the continuous fibers with a highly viscous thermoplastic matrix material is a highly complex process. Until now, there is no economically profitable production technology for large-volume component series according to the ICT.