Tough, cheap and 100 percent recyclable
Spartanburg, South Carolina, is home to one of the largest privately owned chemical and textile research establishments in the world, Milliken & Company. The firm’s innovative research that combines textiles and chemistry has now produced a thermoplastic composite called Tegris that is cheap, recyclable and tough. These properties make Tegris an attractive alternative to (or composite partner for) carbon fiber, and it’s already proving to have wide ranging applications in the automotive, military and sporting industries.
With increasing demand for lighter and more fuel efficient vehicles using more environmentally-sustainable products, newer polypropylene-based products lay claim to being both green and cheap. Recent developments in additive and resin technologies have improved the performance, ease of production and range of applications for polymers such as polypropylene, particularly Tegris and a rival product named Pure from Dutch textiles manufacturer The Royal Lankhorst Euronete Group.
By collaborating with its clients, Milliken has been able to leverage its new technologies in interesting ways. One example is a carbon fiber/Tegris/carbon fiber sandwich that has equal stiffness to a carbon fiber-only structure, yet is 18 percent lighter, more damage tolerant and requires twice the energy to break. Another is an aluminum/Tegris/aluminum sandwich construction, which takes three times the energy to break.