Victrex Japan, Inc, a subsidiary of Victrex plc, an innovative leading manufacturer of high performance materials recently announced that Japanese carbon fiber composite material manufacturer, Mitsuya has developed a prepreg sheet with thinner layers than a traditional one by using Victrex's APTIV Films. The technological development achieved by Mitsuya is a thinner, high quality carbon fiber layered sheet by using VICTREX PEEK as the main ingredient and APTIV Films inheriting the same characteristics of VICTREX PEEK as the matrix polymer. The tow opening process technology that developed at the Fukui Prefecture Industrial Technology Center has been used to manufacture these thin layered sheet materials. The new technology enables manufacturing thinner carbon fiber sheets without cutting or spreading out the strips of carbon fiber unevenly. By using this sheet material, it is easier to manufacture thinner and lighter prepregs than those made before. In addition, the even spread of the fibers leads to added advantage of easier polymer impregnation. Mitsuya's new technology using APTIV films enables it to manufacture the sheets of the thickness of 40µm or less as compared to traditional sheets of 120 - 100 µm thickness using VICTREX PEEK.
The carbon fiber composite material developed by Mitsuya is a UD prepreg (uni-directional prepreg) processed into a shape of a sheet combined with APTIV Films and strips of carbon fiber lined up in one direction. Not only has this UD prepregs succeeded in forming uni-directional layers but also multiaxial layered prepregs molded through heat and pressure treatment and combined in multiple directions. A carbon fiber composite material (prepregs) is a processing material made from a carbon fiber textile impregnated with polymers that is shaped into a sheet. Due to its high heat resistance, material strength, and lightness characteristics, it is often used in athletic products and F1 cars. Recently, anticipating lower operational costs from aircraft weight reduction, carbon fiber composite materials have been attracting attention in the aircraft manufacturing industry. Moreover, higher demands for improved fuel efficiency from vehicle weight reduction in the auto industry are also leading to further adoption of these materials.