Aiming to boost its competitiveness with sustainable materials from closed material cycles, Lanxess is experimenting with different recycling concepts.
The result has been, among others, a new product range developed by Lanxess’ Bond-Laminates subsidiary for the company’s Tepex-branded continuous-fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composites.
In this new composite range, half of the matrix consists of recyclates originating from the recycling of reusable polycarbonate water bottles. These bottles are manufactured using high-purity and high-transparency food contact approved polycarbonate and therefore constitute a defined waste stream. The new product is targeted at the IT and communication technology industry, where demand for sustainable material solutions is growing rapidly.
The initial application for these products will be laptop covers and housings for smartphones, tablets, e-books, and cellphones. According to Dr. Dirk Bonefeld, head of marketing & sales Consumer Electronics, Sports and Industry at Bond-Laminates, the high degree of transparency is ‘perfect’ for producing visible components, for example, with the ‘highly regular arrangement of the continuous fibres making for a highly aesthetic decorative element’.
The composites, derived from Tepex dynalite, feature good mechanical properties and high flame resistance. The first variant, already in series production, comprises a core made from glass-fibre fabric and top layers made from carbon continuous-fibre fabric.
A second material type, which is about to be used in the series production of laptop covers, has been developed that contains not only a matrix made from recycled polycarbonate, but also a randomly oriented fibre core made from carbon-fibre recyclate. Bond-Laminates is working to add additional sustainable fibre-reinforced composites to its material portfolio.
The company is looking at the use of recycled material from other post-industrial or post-consumer waste to manufacture the Tepex thermoplastic matrix and is also continuing to develop bio-based fibre and matrix systems and fully recycled carbon fibres, Bonefeld said.