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New profile manufacturing method for the building sector and electric car

AIMPLAS has reached the mid-point of the European project COALINE, through which some researches are made in order to develop a new profile manufacturing method by pultrusion for the building and automotive industries. Thanks to this research on composite materials it will be possible to carry out the whole process only in one step, including the application of the primer or paint that in this case will be produced inside the mould. So it will be possible also to obtain a time and costs saving and get  sustainable composites because of the absence of emissions.

The new manufacturing process that is being developed allows not only the reduction of labour force needed when producing, but also the number of steps in the process, such as the sanding and the painting or primer application. For that reason, it is faster and cheaper and also more environmentally sustainable, because the emission of solid particles to the environment when sanding and also volatile compounds when painting is avoided. At this point, AIMPLAS has ended up the experimental part where microwaves absorbers and gelcoats previously selected by the partners are added to resins. Three different susceptors (microwaves absorbers) have been tested in variable proportions. It is needed to add theses susceptors to certain types of resins in order to improve the absorption of microwaves. The results have been successful since in all the cases the reduction of the curing time in more than 50 % has been achieved.

Coaline Logo

As Nora Lardiés, main researcher of the project in AIMPLAS explains: “The pultrusion manufacturing process is a continuous system where a glass fibre reinforcement impregnated with resin at one end of a closed and heated mould is introduced. The resin cures inside the mould so by the other end the profile comes off perfectly cured”. In COALINE we expect to coat the profile inside the mould, “in other words, to apply the paint inside the mould so we will save time and we will not be emitting solid particles from the sanding or VOC (volatile organic compound) from the paint and the primer. It will be a cheaper, cleaner and more effective process”, assures Lardiés.

Profiles for electric cars and the building industry

The industrial application of the project COALINE is going hand in hand with the two partners of the consortium, who will act as final users: ACCIONA and ALKÈ. The first one will use the profiles obtained by the new production method, such as stiffening beams in the building sector, while ALKÈ will apply them in the structure of electric cars. On the other hand, the German partner FRAUNHOFER, in collaboration with the company MUEGGE, has already designed and built the microwave antenna that will be put together with the modular mould. The company RESCOLL is working in the formulation of the primer and the adhesive, with the possibility of debonding when being heated.

The Project COALINE, which is funded within the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union (GA609149), began in September 2013 and lasts 42 months. Two research centres take part of it: AIMPLAS and FRAUNHOFER, and also the Riga Technical University; and finally two industrial partners, ACCIONA and MUEGGE and the SMEs ALKÈ, COMPOSITES ARAGÓN, ECOINNOVA, POLYMEC, RESOLTECH, RESCOLL and SYNTHESITES.