Solvay partners with Aonix in thermoplastic composite venture

Solvay will partner with Aonix to accelerate the development and commercialisation of mass-produced, thermoplastic composites made of Solvay’s high-performance polymers for end-use markets including mobile electronics, automotive, oil and gas, and sporting goods. A final agreement is expected to close in late November.

Solvay says that the investment demonstrates its strong commitment to the composites market and provides a channel for its polymers to play a key role in this fast-growing segment. The partnership will target Solvay’s full range of high-performance polymers. However, the agreement will not affect developments involving KetaSpire® PEEK with other companies.

The partnership will focus on the use of Solvay’s high-performance thermoplastics as a matrix as well as overmoulding polymers which are particularly suited for these advanced composite applications due to their strong mechanical properties, superior damage tolerance and chemical resistance. A key processing advantage is their faster cycle times compared to thermoset systems such as epoxy, particularly in high-volume fabrication. These composites are reinforced with glass fibre, aramid fibre or carbon fibre.

Aonix offers a range of proprietary UltraMaterials™. Aonix adds that these thermoplastic formulations are used to create new classes of composite materials with superior performance, high-volume output, and recyclability compared with conventional composites. The company says that it accelerates commercial development by performing all formulation, prepreg, prototyping, testing, and validation for the customer. Aonix’s turnkey solution also includes purpose-built, automated manufacturing systems that are fully optimised for high-volume/low-cost production, eliminating the labour-intensive processes of traditional composites manufacturing.