Rilsan® Matrix, the latest development from Arkema’s research into lightweighting vehicles

Faced with global warming,
the auto-industry must reduce its CO2 emissions. To meet this challenge,
Arkema has developed Rilsan Matrix a resin that enables
the making of composite tape. Replacing steel, this innovation
will reduce the weight of vehicles and thus reduce
their fuel consumption. This new product
was developed by Arkema specifically to meet the needs
of the automotive industry. This requires resins
that have high mechanical, thermal and chemical resistance to withstand electrophoretic
deposition processes and anti-corrosion
treatment for metals. Its excellent mechanical resistance
is also due to its low water absorption unlike other common
polyamide resins such as polyamide 6, or 66. We had to marry the resin
with the fibers which is why we called on Canoë a cutting-edge technical center
specialized in composites. Our challenge
was to use this new polymer in a manufacturing process
that was economically viable for industry and this has opened up prospects
of material industrialization, and manufacturing technology transfer. In the end, we have developed
a quality product at a competitive cost for the automotive market. It is odorless, non-sticky and it’s a thermoplastic type resin which means it is easily recyclable. So this product is revolutionary
as it combines all these aspects. We developed an automated
fiber laying technology using robotic arms
used in the the aeronautical industry. So for us the challenge in using materials like this
for automobiles is to obtain a sufficiently
high deposition level to meet auto-industry production rates,
to the minute. The tape is thermobondable. It is fed onto the head of the robot which is equipped with a heating element and this heating process enables
strips of tape to be overlaid, one on top of the other,
so as to obtain a complex, yet flat preform which is then heated
and placed in a mold to create the final 3D part. CETIM developed
an especially efficient process to produce rapid molding. The process we developed
is the QSP process. It combines heating, stamping
and over-molding processes. So every minute we can produce a composite part
with integrated over-molding. Our goal was to use this technology to demonstrate that our
Rilsan Matrix resin can be shaped as easily as a polyamide 6 resin yet to produce
a far more resistant composite. Thanks to the development
of this resin and composite tape – the building block
for our automotive parts – the part now exists,
it has been successfully made.