- story by MaterialDistrict
In general, because of the relatively high strength and stiffness at low weight of composites (carbon or glass fibre reinforced plastics) these materials are suitable for application in load-bearing structures in building and construction (roof, floor, bridge structures etc.). The specific moulding techniques easily facilitate 3D shaped and one-off structures.
The composite material in the picture consists of glass fibre reinforced polypropylene flat tapes (width approx. 12 mm, thickness 1 mm) applied as warp in a fabric with thin black fibres as weft (hence the whitish and black appearance). By heating and compression moulding this fabric, flat or curved panels can be manufactured. The use of thermoplastic polypropylene facilitates recycling. Both glass fibres and polypropylene are low cost bulk materials with a wide range of applications.
The glass fibre/polypropylene tapes are commercially available. It is possible to weave these tapes again with any coloured weft fibre and turn them into panels by compression moulding. All the required facilities are available in the Netherlands.