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Reinforced Thermoplastics: LFT/GMT Roundup

In the world of composites, thermoplastics with long (6.35 mm/0.25 inch or greater) fiber reinforcement make up one of the fastest growing categories. Leading this expansion is one of the oldest forms, glass mat thermoplastic (GMT) and two of the segment's newest: precompounded (pelletized) LFRTs (long-fiber reinforced thermoplastics), also known as LFTs, and inline compounded (ILC) or direct LFTs (D-LFTs).

Although RTPs usually have a higher raw material cost, they typically yield parts of lower weight and can be produced at lower system cost than parts made of either metals or thermoset composites. Moreover, the long-fiber reinforcement in GMT and both forms of LFT offer those charged with redesigning previously metallic components unprecedented opportunities to reduce part count and tooling costs and simplify assembly/finishing operations, yet maintain rapid production cycles. Similar concerns are driving long-fiber RTP adoption in heavy truck and mass transit applications, and recreational vehicle (RV) OEMs reportedly are exploring thermoplastic composites as a way to take significant weight out of their “houses on wheels.”


Although polypropylene (PP) has been the dominant matrix for GMT composites for almost four decades, expansion into engineering thermoplastics has helped create a family of high-performance£¬including polycarbonate (PC) and polyetherimide (PEI) ,and nylon (polyamide or PA)

On the precompounded LFRT side, a broader offering of matrices has been available for some time, although PP still dominates sales globallyand more new matrices into LFRT product line ,this family includes e, featuring conductive and nonconductive acetal (polyoxymethylene [POM]) and linear-polyphenylene sulfide (PPS),PA and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)grades reinforced with one or more types of 10-mm/0.4-inch long fibers, such as glass, carbon, aramid or stainless steel, for injection molding. polycarbonate (PC) and polyetherimide (PEI)


Both GMT and LFRT/D-LFT composites got their start in the automotive industry,hat previously were in metal, such as engine and, now, full underbody noise shields, front-end modules, seat structures, instrument-panel carriers, roof racks, bumper beams, knee bolsters, wheel wells, battery trays, trunks/rear storage tubs and door hardware modules.


car compents

car pannel

car compents

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