Semi-structural Parts

Glass fibre for light semi-structural parts

Over the last 30 years, glass fibre reinforced thermoplastic has increasingly replaced formerly steel-made automotive components. Air intake manifolds, front-ends, back seat cover, engine cooling systems are typical applications.

The replacement of steel and aluminum by composite solutions is driven by the weight reduction and recyclability potentials of reinforced thermoplastic materials but also because parts containing discontinuous fibres – i.e. a semi-structural architecture – are extremely cost effective when molded for large automotive series.
As a pioneer and a leader in development of glass fibres compatible with thermoplastic resins, 3B continuously revamps its glass fibres’ portfolio to address the increasingly demanding needs of this evolving market.

Innovative glass fibre solutions for Short Fibre Thermoplastic (SFT) Technologies

SFT are the most widely used composite technologies within the automotive industry thanks to their low cycle time and competitive costs ideally suited for high production series. Typically these technologies refer to injection or extrusion-compression molding of molten glass reinforced polymers – compounds -within cavities that shape the final part.
Use of resilient, functionalized, well protected and extremely easy-flow glass fibres is crucial for an optimum balance between in molds molten compound’s rheology and final part’s performances.

3B’s leadership position in thermoplastic represents a sign of quality and a guarantee of the company’s know-how in the development of such fibres.
More specifically, 3B has been addressing in the last years the main challenges of automotive in terms of heat resistance, resistance to various automotive fluids, impact resistance and freedom of design. Those fibres are well-established benchmarks for reinforcing the most demanding cooling systems, air intake manifolds and oil pans while exhibiting at the same time outstanding mechanical properties thanks to a residual glass fibre length of 200-500 µm within the final part.

Innovative glass fibre for Long Fibre Thermoplastic (LFT) Technologies

Long Fibre Thermoplastic (LFT) parts are benefiting from residual glass fibre length in the range of the mils and become then the preferred option when better semi-structural properties than SFT-made parts are required.

With improved impact resistance, higher stiffness and better long term resistance to solicitations, LFT-made components are pushing further the limits of reinforced thermoplastic materials in the race of metal substitution.

With glass input generally in the form of continuous fibres, LFT technologies (either through glass filled pellets or in-line direct compounding) call for fibres that show a high level of homogeneity within the polymer to guaranty a nice visual aspect and optimum performances of the final parts.