Free Flowing: The Role of Viscosity and Lightweighting

25th July 2013 by Chris Liddiard

Frost & Sullivan predicts the automotive carbon fiber composites market will grow from $14.7 million in 2010 to $95.5 million by 2017. Lightweighting is one of the reasons. It’s easy to understand why when you consider carbon fiber reinforced composites can take 40 to 60 percent of weight out of automotive components.

The trick is speeding up cycle times so carbon fiber composites can be introduced on high volume automotive production. Using a polyurethane-based resin in the resin transfer molding process helps accomplish just that. The reason is simple — low viscosity.

The lower the viscosity, the more easily a resin will penetrate carbon or glass fibers. Consider it visually. If you pour water onto a napkin, the water will quickly flow into it. Try doing the same thing with honey — which has a high viscosity — and your results will be much different.

Not only does a low viscosity resin enable a broader introduction of carbon fiber and glass composites, it ensures improved durability, long-term performance and a more efficient injection process without stress to the fibers.

Take a look at the video below for more information.