30. Jun 2022
Lanxess (Cologne, Germany) is currently developing new Tepex thermoplastic composites that are being made starting from recycled or biobased raw materials.
Lanxess is placing an emphasis on sustainability in its business activities, driving the circular economy forward. New Tepex thermoplastic composites that are currently being developed starting from recycled or biobased raw materials are the latest example of this. “With these construction materials, we want to help our customers to make more sustainable products that have a smaller carbon footprint, conserve resources, and protect the climate”, explains Dirk Bonefeld, Head of Global Product Management and Marketing for Tepex at Lanxess. Recently, the specialty chemicals company has launched a fully biobased composite material based on flax and polylactic acid on the market.
Tailor-made for structural lightweight design
Development is about to be completed, for example, on a matrix plastic based on polyamide 6 for Tepex dynalite, that is produced starting from “green” cyclohexane and therefore consists of well over 80 % sustainable raw materials. As a result, the plastic meets the requirements that Lanxess has set for its new “Scopeblue” range. It consists of products that contain a significant proportion of circular (recycled or biobased) raw materials or have a carbon footprint that is considerably smaller than that of conventional products. When the matrix plastic is reinforced with continuous-fibre fabrics, the resulting semi-finished products exhibit the same outstanding properties as comparable, equivalent products that are purely fossil-based. The semi-finished products with a green matrix are therefore suitable for applications in structural lightweight design that are typical for Tepex dynalite – such as front-end carriers, seat shells, or battery consoles.
Biobased alternatives to polyamide 12
Another development focus are new matrix solutions for Tepex based on recycled thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as well as on biobased polyamide 10.10. The recycled TPU products are primarily intended for sports equipment. One of their strengths is their good composite adhesion with many other injection-moulded materials when processed using the insert moulding or hybrid moulding methods. The semi-finished products with a PET recyclate matrix are a cost-effective alternative to virgin polycarbonate and polyamide, for example. The PET comes from used beverage bottles and is also available in large quantities thanks to the closed recycling chain for these bottles. The biobased polyamide 10.10 is derived from castor oil. “The composite materials made with it are a sustainable alternative to polyamide 12 composites, because they have similar mechanical characteristics and a comparable density”, says Bonefeld. AT