A high-end engineering thermoplastic will be used as a modifier in a thermoset composite in automotive roofs and hoods.
Hankuk Carbon of South Korea will use Virantage polyethersulfone (PESU) to improve the toughness, heat resistance and processing consistency of a thermoset composite prepreg, according to Solvay Specialty Polymers, which made the announcement this week at the 2015 Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX) in Dallas.
According to Solvay, PESU tougheners can increase the impact strength of thermoset composites parts by nearly 40 percent and provide a step-change improvement in heat resistance. The PESU micropowders are compatible with a range of epoxy systems and are said to disperse more quickly than conventional impact modifiers.
The PESU modifiers are already widely used in prepreg production for commercial and military aircraft applications.
Hankuk Carbon Co., began in 1984, producing carbon prepregs for fishing rods. It now has three plants and reported 2014 sales of $200 million.
Solvay did not disclose the name of the OEM customer. GM, however, began using carbon composites for hoods and roof panels in the Corvette in 2014. Hankuk is a supplier to Plasan Carbon Composites, the processor that make the composite parts for the Corvette.