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Materials

Polymer Partnerships Target Transportation

by Alex Scott
March 16, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 11

In separate agreements, three big European chemical makers are partnering with smaller firms to develop novel polymers for transportation applications. Solvay is linking with 3A Composites, a subsidiary of the Swiss firm Schweiter Technologies. Solvay says the alliance will be a “game changer” for the development of lightweight specialty foam materials for aircraft. The firms will build on Solvay foams used in Solar Impulse, a solar-powered airplane. BASF and the German carbon fiber producer SGL have codeveloped a composite of carbon fiber and nylon 6 that the firms now plan to apply to the automotive industry. For the partnership, SGL developed a carbon fiber sizing agent; BASF contributed reaction injection molding technology and its Ultrasim simulation tool. Meanwhile, Total has acquired a 68% stake in Polyblend, a German producer of specialty plastics primarily for the automotive sector.

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