Polymers and Composites Made Incredibly Cheaply

A polymerization front (line close to nozzle) races upward as a 3-D printer extrudes a gel of DCPD monomer, resulting in a fully cured spiral product. (source: Chemical & Engineering News, credit: Nature)

A polymerization front (line close to nozzle) races upward as a 3-D printer extrudes a gel of DCPD monomer, resulting in a fully cured spiral product. (source: Chemical & Engineering News, credit: Nature)

The method allowed 3-D printing of a spiral (left) and fabrication of a carbon-fiber-reinforced composite panel (right) similar to those used for cars, boats, and planes. (source: Chemical & Engineering News, credit: Nature)

The method allowed 3-D printing of a spiral (left) and fabrication of a carbon-fiber-reinforced composite panel (right) similar to those used for cars, boats, and planes. (source: Chemical & Engineering News, credit: Nature)

August 2, 2018 | Source: Chemical & Engineering News, cen.acs.org, 11 May 2018, Stu Borman

Researchers have found a way to create industrially important thermoset polymer and fiber-reinforced polymer composite products at considerably lower expense than has been possible before.

The approach could create products such as shaped composite panels for airplane fuselages using 10 orders of magnitude lower energy than current industrial manufacturing techniques. And the resulting polymers and composites have comparable properties—strength, thermal stability, bending resistance, and chemical resistance—to those made conventionally.

The method could be useful for making a wide variety of polymer and composite products in a range of creative forms—including strong, lightweight shaped materials for the bodies of cars, boats, and planes, some of the largest-volume applications of fiber-reinforced polymer composites.

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