Why Thermoplastic Composites

Thermoplastic Composites (TPC) offer unique advantages over metal or thermoset composites in countless applications. Compared to Metals, Thermoplastics share many benefits similar to Thermoset Composites:

  • Higher stiffness and strength to weight
  • Fatigue resistance
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Design tailorability

Additionally, Thermoplastic Composites offer unique added benefits compared to thermoset composites, such as epoxy and phenolic matrix materials:

  • High toughness
  • Very low flammability (FST/OSU)
  • High retention of hot/wet properties
  • Unlimited Room temp storage / shelf life
  • Full Recyclability

The most compelling advantage is the greatly reduced fabrication cycle time and consequently significantly lower part costs and higher production rates.

Seeing the Future Take Shape 

TPC opens up a new range of fabrication options. Selecting the optimal method requires consideration of part size, complexity and production process.

Unique methods include
– Stamp forming
– Press molding
– Continuous compression molding (CCM).
– Flat laminates
– Profiles

Geometries (straight, curved, & varied thicknesses)
– Brackets
– Angles
– Beams
– Ribs
– Skins

Assembly options
– Mechanical fastening
– Co-consolidation
– Adhesive Bonding
– TPC Welding

ATC can help you navigate through the range of possibilities to the best solution for your components.

TPC Meets your Targets for Strength, Performance, Weight, Cost and Design 

Thermoplastic Polymers

A major advantage of thermoplastics is the rapid processing. The polymer is simply heated, formed to shape and cooled with no chemical reaction or cure.

Aerospace applications demand the highest performance, a wide service temperature range, environmental resistance and very low flammability.

The select polymers have desirable characteristics for aerospace structures and interiors. All the polymers have high service temperatures, represented by the Glass Transition temperature (Tg).

The summary table lists the typical Aero polymers key processing and service temperatures and key benefits or limitations.

(1) For aircraft structural use. Service temperature must be determined by designer on service requirements.
(2) Low melt temperature PAEK Polymer

Reinforcements

Thermoplastic polymers are combined with many different fibers reinforcements and formats, based on cost and performance goals. The materials we use are highly reinforced, typically 60% by volume, with continuous fibers. The most common fibers are:

• Carbon fiber
• Glass fiber

The formats are unidirectional tapes or woven fabrics:

Unidirectional Tapes
• Highest performance

• Maximum ply tailorability

Woven Fabrics
• Ease of forming

• Available as broad goods
• Lowest cost

Thermoplastic Composite Product Forms

ATC works with prepregs (fully impregnated and powder coated), and consolidated laminates. Additionally, we manufacture laminates in house using a Continuous Compression Molding (CCM) and Press Molding techniques.

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