According to the NCC, this may make it easier for to use composites for elements that get very hot, such as sections of engines and housings for electric batteries.
A research specialist team used Nexam Chemical’s NEXIMID resin system, which can operate at temperatures up to 400°C, reportedly higher than almost all other resin systems. Whilst resin transfer molding is usually conducted at around 120°C, by developing high temperature specialist equipment – including tooling design and high temperature sealings – the NCC were able to keep the resin above 250°C throughout the injection process, allowing its high temperature capability to be combined with a high processing temperature for a final product that can cope with much higher temperatures than previous composites.
Throughout the process the resin system did not emit the high levels of toxic gases that other polyimide resins can.
“Being able to manufacture carbon fibre composites using a UK-produced high temperature resin system is a huge step forward in enabling industry to adopt advanced materials in components that were previously unable to take advantage of them,” said Dr David King, advanced research engineer at the NCC. “Based on the emerging details of this expanded capability we are already working with industry customers on new applications for composite parts, and are excited to further develop our high temperature resin transfer molding capability.”