ZOLTEK Corporation News and Events

Follow along with ZOLTEK's progress as we make the news, attend events, and share our views surrounding commercializing carbon fiber

Case Study: 60 Second Cycle Time for Carbon Fiber Automotive Front Ends

The Team

Zoltek™, KraussMaffei Technologies, and Lanxess have developed carbon fiber vehicle parts that outperform glass in Impact Strength, Tensile Strength, Tensile Modulus, and Density.

KraussMaffei Technologies has successfully demonstrated direct compounding injection molding using ZOLTEK™ PX35 Commercial Carbon Fiber with Lanxess Durethan® Polyamide 6 polymer. The molding process was demonstrated using a complex front end module tool.

The Process

Thirty-six parametric variations were evaluated to optimize fiber sizing chemistry, tow versus pellet product forms, and a wide variety of process and machine parameters. Direct feeding of the Zoltek™ fiber into the extruder worked extremely well. The innovative twin screw design of KraussMaffei Technologies easily chopped the fibers creating excellent fiber length retention in the extrudate.

The Results

Approximately 400 parts were molded with 10%, 30%, and 40% fiber loadings to validate continuous operation and reproducibility of process. Molding cycle time was approximately 60 seconds for this large complex part.

  Direct Comparison of Molded Parts

30% ZOLTEK™ PX35 Carbon Fiber vs. 30% Glass Fiber

This materials technology break through has resulted in significant part weight savings, better vehicle performance, and better fuel efficiency. Designing to equal mechanical properties results in reduced carbon fiber content and even greater weight savings.

Note: these results are direct comparison of molded parts with 30% glass fiber and 30% ZOLTEK™ PX35. Mechanical property improvements will be even greater with tooling designed for carbon fiber.
*unnotched charpy impact strength

Download this case study by clicking here