A new generation of innovative, sustainable Self Reinforced Plastics (SRP), the next generation of SRPs and processes is being developed by FuturePlas, with funding support from the Technology Strategy Board. The FuturePlas project is developing the range of SRP's to include Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Nylon (PA) and Polyethylene (PE) and is also broadening the processing possibilities to include injection moulding and various sheet and fabric cross-over moulding technologies. The ultimate aim of FuturePlas is to offer a wider range of SRP materials, properties and processes than is currently available, for applications requiring higher mechanical performance, higher temperature resistance and quicker cycle times than those already available.
SRPs are composites with high tenacity polymer fibres reinforcing a matrix of the same polymer, and are configured in such a way as to allow the moulding of components without losing the fibres' excellent mechanical properties. In this way inexpensive, lightweight, stiff components can be moulded with complete recyclability, as they can be ground back down and re-used without further treatment.
Self-reinforced polypropylene (SRPP) is already commercially available in sheet form and has begun to make in-roads into market sectors such as automotive, personal protective equipment (such as helmets, illustrated), ballistics and other impact sensitive areas.