Textile Coating

The world’s smallest composite

By Sandesh Shirke, Robert Brüll, Richard Haas and Alexander Lüking, Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University, as well as Thomas Exlager, Coatema Coating Machinery GmbH, Dormagen

Fibre-reinforced composites (FRP) combine properties of two materials, which are combined to form a fibre-matrix composite. Both materials complement each other in their properties. The matrix protects the fibre from mechanical damage and transfers the applied forces to the fibres. The fibre absorbs the structure and applied forces. The combination of both components results in materials that are used in different applications due to the properties achieved. Thus, weight reductions can be achieved in the mobility sector and high strength in prostheses in medical technology can be realized. In particular, endless glass fibre reinforced plastics (GFRP), are becoming increasingly important in many sectors of the industry because of their lightweight properties achieved at a low price. Due to their high strength and stiffness values, combined with low density compared to steel (GRP: ~ 1.74 g/cm3, steel: ~ 7.85 g/cm3), GFRPs offer high potential in the lightweight construction sector. [AVK13, Fri13] Each year, 1.1 million tons of glass fibres for usage in thermoplastic composite materials are processed in Europe, making up about half of the market. The market for endless reinforced thermoplastics also called organo sheets, offers growth potential of up to 6% per year. [Wit17]