BASF enters long fibre polyamide market

This product group is new in the BASF portfolio.

Production of the long fibre reinforced resins employs the pultrusion process to create plastic strands containing endless glass fibres, BASF explains. These strands are then cut to a pellet length of 12 mm. The customer can process these long fibre granules on a conventional injection moulding machine. A three-dimensional network of primarily 3-6 mm long fibres is formed. Compared to short fibre reinforced polyamides (PA) with their 0.3 mm long fibres, entirely new component characteristics can be achieved, says BASF.

The long fibre polyamide grades in the Ultramid Structure group are very stiff and strong at elevated temperatures, while at low temperatures they exhibit outstanding impact strength, reports BASF. Compared to conventional materials they are also said to offer impressive creep behaviour, minimal warpage and higher energy absorption – and thus crash performance.

Potential automotive applications for the new long fibre polyamides include engine mounts, and crash absorbers which are intended to undergo controlled destruction upon impact in order to absorb as much energy as possible and thus protect the rest of the vehicle. Potential applications in other sectors include coffee machines, where replacements for die-cast parts are sought, threaded connectors or components in power drills and bicycles.

BASF has been operating a pultrusion line on a pilot scale for two years and is currently investing in an industrial-scale plant. The company is starting with a small range of PA 6 and PA 66 grades with long fibre levels of 40-60%. This portfolio will be expanded in the future to meet market requirements.