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Structural Composites Light Weighting – Formulation Development for Carbon Fiber SMC and Prepreg Opportunities in Automotive Components



In several markets, the objective of light weighting is one of the key characteristics by which material engineers justify the use of composite components.  In the auto industry, this is exemplified by the CAFE requirement of 41 mpg average for a given OEM fleet by 2021.  Part of this challenge involves removing weight without affecting the performance of the vehicle or the productivity rate of the process to manufacture the component.  Carbon fiber composites have the ability to meet the performance criteria and offer an excellent strength to weight ratios in structural automotive applications.  Rapid cure is known to exist for many composite processes including epoxy and styrenated vinylesters.  Epoxy resins have been successful at obtaining a snap cure response, under 2 minutes cure cycles, but have limitations on the storage conditions of the prepregs manufactures and their shelf life.  Vinyl resins have a long history with snap cure performance and the ability to formulate around their cure kinetics.  In addition, they offer excellent shelf life stability at ambient storage conditions.  There exists several vinyl resin chemistries and formulations which allow for excellent adhesion to carbon fiber- key to maximizing composite’s performance requirements.

This paper investigates the adhesion of vinyl resins to commercially available carbon fiber inputs.  It will demonstrate mechanical properties of liquid vinyl resins used in carbon fiber SMC formulations  as well as hot melt vinyl hybrid resins used in long continuous fiber prepreg materials. In addition, the paper will present formulation opportunities to toughen vinyl systems – in both their polymer backbones and in polymer additives designed to optimize performance.


Jim holds a Master of Science Degree in Polymer Chemistry from University of Detroit- Mercy  in Detroit, Michigan.  He has been in the composites industry for 25 years.  Jim began his career at a Tier I automotive manufacturer as manager of research projects where he gained experience in processes including SMC, RTM and RRIM, focusing on materials used in applications.  He joined Reichhold in 2008 and currently holds the position of Senior Technical Manager for Polynt US Composites, Inc in North America.  His work involves the development of application for new advanced resin technologies used in primarily aerospace and automotive applications.

PRESENTATION: Structural Composites Light Weighting

Jim Bono / Senior Technical Manager- High Temperature  Polynt US Composites, Inc.