RTP Company’s engineered Long Fiber Thermoplastic (LFT) pellet portfolio has soared to the top of the polymer pyramid with the commercialization of VLF (Very Long Fiber) PEEK in radomes for military weapon systems. The ability of these radomes made with VLF PEEK to resist failure during high speed launches was an impressive improvement over short glass reinforced PEEK and led to the eventual replacement of the incumbent thermoset composite system.
“Elevating the performance capability of highly engineered polymers is a cornerstone of our long fiber strategy,” said Eric Lee, Business Manager for Structural Products at RTP Company. RTP 2299 X 108578C, a 50% long glass fiber reinforced PEEK, has a notched Izod impact of 240 J/m; an increase of 65% compared to a 50% short glass reinforced PEEK compound; and maintains an impressive Flexural Modulus of 19,306 Mpa and Heat Deflection Temperature of 316 °C measured at 1.8MPa.
“The improvement in toughness with high stiffness at elevated temperatures is a hallmark benefit of articles molded with VLF composite pellets. Extending these advantages with VLF PEEK is very satisfying to our product development team and will enable new applications to be realized,” said Lee. The increased performance of RTP 2299 X 108578C above and beyond the limits of short fiber reinforced PEEK are expected to create new opportunities for fastener, oil field, and compressor related applications.
In addition to performance benefits, injection molding VLF PEEK achieved cost savings by reducing the cycle time by several minutes. VLF PEEK parts exit the mold in finished form ready for assembly unlike thermosets, aluminum, and titanium, all with high finishing costs. “Creating high performance thermoplastic composite solutions that are injection moldable is a tremendous value for everyone” said Lee.
RTP Company significantly expanded its LFT global capacity during the past year. A new long fiber facility was opened in 2006 near its Winona, Minnesota headquarters and LFT lines became operational at RTP Company’s facility in Beaune, France. The latest expansion occurred earlier in 2007 when RTP Company added LFT production lines at its Suzhou, China manufacturing facility.