Evonik launches new Composites Project House. Materials for lightweight construction

(PresseBox) ( Essen, )
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- Tenth project house by the specialty chemicals company
- Evonik Executive Board member Dr. Dahai Yu: "Innovative composites will allow us to significantly improve resource efficiency."
- Growth market for composites in lightweight construction

Evonik Industries launched its Composites Project House in spring 2013. Evonik's tenth project house is based primarily in Marl, with a branch in Darmstadt. The Composites Project House will develop new materials and system solutions for the lightweight construction sector. Among the topics addressed will be automotive and aviation applications and applications in the domain of renewable energies. Having established the Composites Project House, the specialty chemicals company is intensifying its strategic research for resource-efficient, sustainable solutions, particularly in the field of mobility.

"Our aim in setting up the Composites Project House is to expand our expertise in the field of composites. Innovative composites will make it possible to improve resource efficiency significantly at the same time," says Dr. Dahai Yu, Evonik's Executive Board member responsible for the Specialty Materials segment, who believes that composite materials for the lightweight construction sector are an attractive market for Evonik. In some market segments, the composites market is growing by a double-digit percentage. Evonik has been offering composites for specific applications in the lightweight construction industry for some time now: ROHACELL® as a structural foam in fiber-reinforced composite parts, VESTAMIN® as the hardener component for duroplastic matrix systems, and VESTAKEEP® as a matrix for thermoplastic composites, to name just a few examples.

A composite consists of at least two different materials, such as a matrix material and reinforcing fibers. It is characteristic of composites that the starting materials remain physically distinguishable. The mechanical properties of the composite differ from those of the starting materials, however. Dr. Sandra Reemers, head of the Composites Project House, explains: "By selecting the right starting materials and assembling them, the process as well as the properties of the composite can be customized for a particular application."

The issues being worked on at the Composites Project House are current and future customer requirements such as rapid, profitable processability of the composites. "One of our aims in this project house is to develop materials that can be processed as quickly as thermoplastics but that are ultimately similar to duroplastic composites. Duroplastics have a very high level of mechanical stability and do not deform under pressure," says Reemers. "Take, for example, the auto industry, where up to now composite parts have only been able to be installed in small quantities and only after the coating has been burned in. The goal here is to develop materials that can be installed in the same way as metal components, i.e. before the paint is applied."

Project houses at Evonik-part of strategic research

In the project houses run by Creavis, Evonik's strategic research and development unit, experts from several operating units and external experts work together on issues that will expand Evonik's product and technology portfolio and drive forward research until it is ready for use. The research findings are then commercialized by Evonik's operating units or an internal start-up.

In addition to the Composites Project House, Creavis currently manages the Light & Electronics Advanced Project House (APH) in Taiwan. Located in close proximity to large electronics companies, this project house researches large-scale illumination and display components, materials for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), and coating solutions for electronics, among other things.

For Evonik, a high level of innovation is an engine for profitable growth and for strengthening its market and technology lead. In 2012, Evonik invested €393 million in research and development to be able to offer customers and partners innovative products, solutions, and methods. This is facilitated by a global R&D network of some 2,500 employees of different disciplines across more than 35 sites.

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