CA1135923A - Process for laminating thermoplastic resin reinforced with fiber glass - Google Patents

Process for laminating thermoplastic resin reinforced with fiber glass

Info

Publication number
CA1135923A
CA1135923A CA000329280A CA329280A CA1135923A CA 1135923 A CA1135923 A CA 1135923A CA 000329280 A CA000329280 A CA 000329280A CA 329280 A CA329280 A CA 329280A CA 1135923 A CA1135923 A CA 1135923A
Authority
CA
Canada
Prior art keywords
resin
mat
zone
pressure
cooling
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Expired
Application number
CA000329280A
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
John A. Baumann
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
PPG Industries Inc
Original Assignee
PPG Industries Inc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US96595678A priority Critical
Priority to US965,956 priority
Application filed by PPG Industries Inc filed Critical PPG Industries Inc
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of CA1135923A publication Critical patent/CA1135923A/en
Application status is Expired legal-status Critical

Links

Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B27/00Layered products comprising a layer of synthetic resin
    • B32B27/12Layered products comprising a layer of synthetic resin next to a fibrous or filamentary layer
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE IN GENERAL
    • B29BPREPARATION OR PRETREATMENT OF THE MATERIAL TO BE SHAPED; MAKING GRANULES OR PREFORMS; RECOVERY OF PLASTICS OR OTHER CONSTITUENTS OF WASTE MATERIAL CONTAINING PLASTICS
    • B29B15/00Pretreatment of the material to be shaped, not covered by groups B29B7/00 - B29B13/00
    • B29B15/08Pretreatment of the material to be shaped, not covered by groups B29B7/00 - B29B13/00 of reinforcements or fillers
    • B29B15/10Coating or impregnating independently of the moulding or shaping step
    • B29B15/12Coating or impregnating independently of the moulding or shaping step of reinforcements of indefinite length
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE IN GENERAL
    • B29BPREPARATION OR PRETREATMENT OF THE MATERIAL TO BE SHAPED; MAKING GRANULES OR PREFORMS; RECOVERY OF PLASTICS OR OTHER CONSTITUENTS OF WASTE MATERIAL CONTAINING PLASTICS
    • B29B15/00Pretreatment of the material to be shaped, not covered by groups B29B7/00 - B29B13/00
    • B29B15/08Pretreatment of the material to be shaped, not covered by groups B29B7/00 - B29B13/00 of reinforcements or fillers
    • B29B15/10Coating or impregnating independently of the moulding or shaping step
    • B29B15/12Coating or impregnating independently of the moulding or shaping step of reinforcements of indefinite length
    • B29B15/122Coating or impregnating independently of the moulding or shaping step of reinforcements of indefinite length with a matrix in liquid form, e.g. as melt, solution or latex
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C43/00Compression moulding, i.e. applying external pressure to flow the moulding material; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C43/22Compression moulding, i.e. applying external pressure to flow the moulding material; Apparatus therefor of articles of indefinite length
    • B29C43/228Compression moulding, i.e. applying external pressure to flow the moulding material; Apparatus therefor of articles of indefinite length using endless belts feeding the material between non-rotating pressure members, e.g. vibrating pressure members
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C70/00Shaping composites, i.e. plastics material comprising reinforcements, fillers or preformed parts, e.g. inserts
    • B29C70/04Shaping composites, i.e. plastics material comprising reinforcements, fillers or preformed parts, e.g. inserts comprising reinforcements only, e.g. self-reinforcing plastics
    • B29C70/28Shaping operations therefor
    • B29C70/40Shaping or impregnating by compression not applied
    • B29C70/50Shaping or impregnating by compression not applied for producing articles of indefinite length, e.g. prepregs, sheet moulding compounds [SMC] or cross moulding compounds [XMC]
    • B29C70/504Shaping or impregnating by compression not applied for producing articles of indefinite length, e.g. prepregs, sheet moulding compounds [SMC] or cross moulding compounds [XMC] using rollers or pressure bands
    • B29C70/506Shaping or impregnating by compression not applied for producing articles of indefinite length, e.g. prepregs, sheet moulding compounds [SMC] or cross moulding compounds [XMC] using rollers or pressure bands and impregnating by melting a solid material, e.g. sheet, powder, fibres
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B30PRESSES
    • B30BPRESSES IN GENERAL
    • B30B5/00Presses characterised by the use of pressing means other than those mentioned in the preceding groups
    • B30B5/04Presses characterised by the use of pressing means other than those mentioned in the preceding groups wherein the pressing means is in the form of an endless band
    • B30B5/06Presses characterised by the use of pressing means other than those mentioned in the preceding groups wherein the pressing means is in the form of an endless band co-operating with another endless band
    • B30B5/065Presses characterised by the use of pressing means other than those mentioned in the preceding groups wherein the pressing means is in the form of an endless band co-operating with another endless band using anti-friction means for the pressing band
    • B30B5/067Presses characterised by the use of pressing means other than those mentioned in the preceding groups wherein the pressing means is in the form of an endless band co-operating with another endless band using anti-friction means for the pressing band using anti-friction roller means
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B5/00Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts
    • B32B5/02Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by structural features of a fibrous or filamentary layer
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C43/00Compression moulding, i.e. applying external pressure to flow the moulding material; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C43/32Component parts, details or accessories; Auxiliary operations
    • B29C43/44Compression means for making articles of indefinite length
    • B29C43/48Endless belts
    • B29C2043/483Endless belts cooperating with a second endless belt, i.e. double band presses
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2262/00Composition of fibres which form a fibrous or filamentary layer or are present as additives
    • B32B2262/10Inorganic fibres
    • B32B2262/101Glass fibres
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2305/00Condition, form or state of the layers or laminate
    • B32B2305/08Reinforcements
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2315/00Other materials containing non-metallic inorganic compounds not provided for in groups B32B2311/00 - B32B2313/04
    • B32B2315/08Glass
    • B32B2315/085Glass fiber cloth or fabric
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2398/00Unspecified macromolecular compounds
    • B32B2398/20Thermoplastics

Abstract

Abstract of Disclosure A continuous process for producing a fiber glass reinforced thermoplastic sheet is described in which fiber glass mat and thermo-plastic resin are combined into an integral sheet by passing the resin and glass mat through a heating phase under uniform temperature and pressure conditions to produce a softened sheet product having glass dispersed throughout and rapidly cooling the softened sheet product continuously while maintaining the temperature and pressure in the cooling zone constant. A hardened reinforced thermoplastic sheet is removed from the cooling zone which is capable of being scamped under heat and pressure into a thermoplastic part.

Description

3~92~

PROCESS FOR LAMINATING TIIERMOPLASTIC RESIN
REINFORCED WITH FXBER GLASS

Bac~ground of the Inventlon Fiber glass reinforced thermoplastic sheets capable of being stamped under heat and pressure into a variety of shapes for automotive use have been described in the literature. Typical of methods heretofore employed to produce such products are those described in U. S. Patents 3,66~,909; 3,684,645; 3,713,96~ and 3,850,723. The glass strands which are used to prepare the mats which are placed in the product are usuaLly treated before mat formation with an appropriate sizing system. One such system is described in U. S. Patent 3,849,148. The mat used in the thermo-plastic sheet products produced i9 typically needled and this is described in U. S. Patents 3,883,333 and 3,664,909.
The laminates produced by the prior are processes and the instant invention may be processed in a stamping operation using the procedures described in U. S. Patents 3,621,092 and 3,626,053.
In the prior art processes above described, layers of needled mat and t~ermoplastic resin, polypropylene being typical, are laminated in a platen press to produce the shee~ product. In~another process 20~ subsequently deecribed, the lamination of resins and mat takes place in a cont1nuous laminator.
; - In the process employing the platen press acceptable product is produced, but the manufacturing process itselE i9 slow and costly since the maca and thermoplastic sheets used eO make the ~aminates are laid up by hand and ~tbe process is~by its nature a batch operation.

.,: ' ~ . .
..

~3,~ 3 In the continuous process depicted in FIG. 2, inadequate control of the pressure exerted on the laminate in tbe cooling section frequently results in the production of laminates having nonuniform void content.

The Present Invention In accordance with the instant invention a process for producing a laminated fiber glass reinforced thermoplastic resin continuously is provided which overcomes many of the shortcomings of the prior art. The process of the invention involves passing a fiber glass mat and the thermo-plastic resin into a laminating zone which has two distinct temperature regimes. In the first section of the lamination zone, heat and pressure are applied to the thermoplastic resin and glass mat to insure that the resin is maintained in the molten state during its passage through the zone. The mat and molten resin during their passage through this zone are given sufficient residence time ~o permit the molten resin to flow through the glass mat and thoroughly impregnate it. The mat and molten resin sheet are then passed into a cooling ~one which is maintained under pressure to solidify the res;n throughout the mat and provide~at the exit end of the cooling section of the laminating process a continuous sheet of fiber glass reinforced thermoplastic having a controlled void content and which is capable of being stamped into a finished part utilizing the stamping procedures of the prior art hereinabove described.
Various thermoplastic resins may be employed to produce laminates in accordance with the instant invention and typical resins suieed for this use are homopolymers and copolymers of resrns such as~ vinyl resins formed by the polymerization of vinyl halldes or by the copolymeri~ation of vinyl haIides with unsaturated polymeriæable compounds, e.g., vinyl esters,

- 2 -; .

alpha, beta-unsaturated acids, alpha, beta-unsaturated esters, alpha,beta-unsaturated ketones, alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehydes and unsaturated hydrocarbons such as butadienes and styrenes; ~2) poly-alpha-olefins such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polybutylene, polyisoprene and the like, including copolymers of poly-alpha-olefins; (3) phenoxy resins; (4) polyam:ides such as polyhexamethylene adipamide; (5) polysulfones; (6) polycarbonates;
(7) polyacetals; (8) polyethylene oxide; (9) polystyrene, includlng copolymelo, of styrene with monomeric compounds such as acrylonitrile and butadiene;

(lO) acrylic resins as exemplified by the polymers of methyl acrylate, acrylamide, methylol acrylamide, acrylonitrils and copolymers of these with styrene, vinyl pyridines, etc.; (ll) neoprene; (12) polyphenylene oxide resins;
(13~ polymers such as polybutylene terephthlate and polyethylene terephthlate;
and (14) cellulose esters including the nitrate, acetate, propionate, etc.
This list is not meant to be limit~ng or exhaustice, but merely ~o illustrate the wide range of polymeric materials which may be employed in the present invention.
The fiber glass mat used in the preparation of the laminates may be made conveniently by the methods described in U. S. Patent 3~883~333 assigned to the assignee of this invention.
In the method described in this patent the mat is Eormed by laying down continuous strand on a conveyor surface, typically an intermeshing chain, to the desired depth. The strands are usually placed on the chain by traversing the attenuators that project the strand to the conveyor surface across the ~idth of the surface in a direction transverse of the movement of the conveyor. The mat formed in this manner is then passed through a needling device which is normally a conventional felting loom containing a multiplicity of barbed needles which penetrate the mat causing ~.c ,' ., 1. ~"; 3 !~ ~3 ;~ rl 3 the continuous strands to become tangled in each other thereby providing dimensional stability to the mat wh;le at the same time breaking them into - random lengths. The needling operation provides a significant amount of short glass fibers in the finished mat due to the action oE the barbed needles penetrating the depth of the mat and, in doing so breaking a significant number of the continuous strand6 into short lengths of stapLe fibers. "Short fibers" as used herein means strands or fibers of 1 inch or less in length. The amount of short fibers produced by the needling operation will vary depending upon the speed of the needling, the number and types of needles used. In general, the short fihers presen~ in _ the mat range between 10 to 25 percent, preEerably between 15 and 20 percent by weight of the mat. The remainder of the mat is composed of strands and fibers in lengths in excess of l inch, generally 1-1/2 to 5 inches or longer. As also shown in the above patent, the speed of the needler and the mat forming surface is coordinated to provide a uniform mat density being recovered from the exit of the needler. The needles employed may contain ~w~ r barb~in either a do~m or an up posi~ion so that upon ~ 3;~;~
penetrating the upper mat surface they push fibers from chat surface to the interior of the mat or they pu11 fibers from the under surface of the mat up to the interior, respectively. In soMe instances needles barbed in both a down and up direction are used to provide for the penetration of strands to the interior from both the upper and the lower surface in a single down and up stroke of the mounting carrying the needles. If desired, the process of the instant invention can also be practiced with chopped strand mats used as the glass source. A typicaI' mat of this type is described in U.S. Paten~ 2,790,741.
In the prac~ice o~ the invention the thermoplastic resin may be fed to the laminating process in any of several forms. In some instances rS~'3 the resin i8 fed to the laminating 7one in preformed sheet ~orm of desired thickness and the number of sheets used will depend on the desired thick-ness of the final product and the mat or mats used. It is also within the purview of the invention to feed the thermoplastic resin to the laminating process as a premelted extrudate Erom a hiigh temperature, high pressure extrusion line. In this type of system the extrudate is fed between the laminating surface in a sheet fonn, typically Erom an extrusion die which is maintained at temperaC~re and pressure sufficient to maintain the resin in a flowable state as it is fed to the laminating zone. In a typical operation both molten extrudate is fed to the laminating zone as well as sheet forms of the thermoplastic resin being employed as will be more fully explained hereinafter.
It is also within the purview of this invention to add to th~
laminates produced by this invention compatible materials which do not affect the basic and novel chacteristics of the product. Among such materials are coloring agents, including dyes and pigments, fillers and similar additives. Additives such as antioxidants, bacteriacides, anti-static agents, stabilizers and antimarine fouling agents, may also be added. Generally the quantity of additives if used, are below about 30 percent by weight of the product, typically 10 to 20 percent.
In the practice of the instant- invencion the laminating process is conducted under various pressure and temperature conditions. Thus, the initial stage of the oparation involves contacting the reinforcing fiber glass mat with molten resin to insure adequate penetration of the mat structure by the resin system being employed to produce the final sheet product. Pressures are exerted in the hot stage portion of the laminating .
system and may vary from 5 to 120 pounds per square inch, preferably in the ~ 5 -~l3~ 3 range of 20 to 60 pounds per square inch. The hot stage of the laminating process is typically regulated in a temperature range of 350F. to 550F
(117C. to 288C.); this temperature being somewhat dependent upon the melt cemperatures of the resins employed. For example, with a polypropylene resin system, the temperatures in the hot stage of the laminating typically range between 400F. to 450F. (204C. to 232C.). In the cold stage of the process, pressures are applied generally at the same magnitude or greater than those used in the hot stage and in general are within the ranges set forth abo~e for the hot stage.
Attention is now directed to the drawing for a further explanation of the invention and its advantages over the prior art.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic illustration of a laminating machine suitable for use in producing fiber glass reinforced thermoplastic sheets in accordance with the instant invention.
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic illustration of a continuous laminating process currently in use for producing fiber glass reinforced thermoplastic resin sheets suitable for stamping, and As shown in FIG. 2, a double belt laminating machine is employed to produce a continuous sheet 2 which is composed of a resin and fiber glass mat. In the process depicted fiber glass mats 1 and 1' are fed between two laminating belts 3 and 4. Molten resin 5 is fed between the mats 1 and 1' from an adjustable slot 6 located along the length of an extrusion die 7. Two sheets of resin 8 and 9 are fed to the laminating belts 3 and 4 above and below the mats l~ and 1, respectively.
Belt 4 as it passes around rol]er 11 is preheated by a heater 13 prior to its engagement with the heating, press roll 15. Similarly, belt 3 ~ 6 -~3.S;~Z~

is preheated by heater 16 prior to its engagement with press roll 15. The heating, press roll i6 equipped with heaters 18. Pressure is applied to the laminate 2 by applying tension to the belts 3 and 4. Tension applied to belts 3 and 4 results in the application of radial forces on the resin mat composite. The radial forces and the resulting pressures assist in saturating the mats 1 and l' with resin and render sheets 8 and 9 molten when coupled with the heat applied as the tension is applied Roll 24 applies tension to belt 3 and roll Z5 applies tension to belt 4. The material as a compact sheet of resin and fiber glass resulting from the passage of the materials through the press roll 15 is then passed to a ..
cooling roll 20 between the belts 3 and 4 and during its passage over this roll is partially cooled, but not completely solidified. The roll 20 is equipped with a cooler 21 to reduce the temperature of the belts and the resin. The sheet after leaving roLl 20 inbetween the belts 3 and 4 is then passed through another elongated cooling zone 22 to further reduce the te~perature of the belts 3 and 4 to further cool and solidify the mats and resin into sheet 2. Belt 3 is then reflexed over roll 23 for return to the tension roll 24 and belt 4 is returned over roller 25 to the roll 11 with the product 2 being removed at the point where belts 3 and 4 separate.
~hile the laminating process depicted has been used to produce useful, commercial products, it has certain shortcomings that the instant invention overcomes. The impregnation pressures are applied to mat and resin by the tension exerted on the belts 3 and 4 by the tension rolls 24 and 25, respectively. Experience has shown that, for example, when a pressure of 30 pounds per square inch has been applied in the heating press roll 15, only about l/2 to 1 pound per square inch can be maintained in the cooling area of zone 22. This produces in many instances a larger

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volume of voids in the product due to the tendency of the glass mat to expand as pressure on it is relaxed thus causing expansion of trapped gases while the resin is not fully solidified. The roll system used and the belt curvatures that are required in this unit also resu~t in uneven belt speeds since, for example, on the press roll 15 the belt 4 is on the outside and in the cooling zone it i5 on the inside. Thus, belts 3 and 4, which travel at equaL linear speeds, move relative to each other on the rolls due to the fact that they pass the rolls at differing radii depending upon which roll they are travelling around.
In the process diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 1, resin sheets 100 and 101, fiber glass mats 102 and 103 and molten resin 104 are fed between belts 105 and 106 of a continuous Laminating machine.
The belts 105 and 106 are continuous belts which are driven around rolls 107 and 108 and rolle 109 and llOj respectively.
The laminating machine is as shown divided into two dis,tinct --sections indicated as 120 and 130. Two sections are shown for convenience only since as will be readily apparent to the skilled artisan, each of these sections may be one or more distinct units. In the illustrated figure, section 120 is the hot lamination zone of the process and it is equipped with an upper pla~en 121 and lower platen 122 which arP movable in a direction perpendicular to the path of travel of belts 105 and 106.
These platens 121 and 122 are operated under hydraulic pressure and are capable of exerting forces of 0 to 30 psig to the material being passed through this zone for lamination between belts 105 and 106. With modifi-cation the platens can be operated at even higher pressure. Movement of the laminated material through this zone ;s maintained by a plurality of rollers 123 and 124 located in the upper and lower sections of laminating _ ~ _ , ~ .

zone 120, respectively. The rollers 123 and 12~ are rods which extend across the width of the belts 105 and 106. They are coupled at their ends by a link chain which in currl rides on the sprockets 125 for rods 123 and sprockets 126 for rods 124. ~le sprockets 125 and 126 are driven by a suitable motor, not shown. As will be appreciated from the drawing, the laminating pressure applied to the belts 105 and 106 is transmitted to the belts by the rollers 123 and 124 as the piatens 121 and 122 contact them. The rollers L23 and 124 move the belts 105 and 106 through the zone 120 while the pressures from the platens 121 and 122 are being applied to the belts 105 and 106 during their passage through this zone.
Zone 120 is also supplied with heat that is transmitted to the sheet material as it passes through zone 120 to maintain it in a molten state and thereby insure penetration of resin throughout the glass matrix of the laminate being formed.
The laminate passes from zone 120 into zone 130 which is pro- -vided with a platen 131 and 132 and rollers 133 and 13~ in the upper and lower sections thereof, respectively. Similar to zone 120, the rollers 133 and 134 are moved by sprockets 135 and 136 riding on a chain 137 attached to rollers 133 and 134, the sprockets 135 and 136 being driven by a suitable motor assembly (not shown). Platens 132 and 131 ap~ly pressure to the laminate during its passage through zone 130 and zone 130 is supplied with heat transfer fluid in an indirect heat exchange supply systen (not shown) that removes heat from the laminate through rolls 133 and 134 to chill the laminate and solidify the resin through-out. The solid finished product 140 is removed from zone 130 and may then be subjected to slitting, cutting and paGkaging procedures which form no part of the instant invention.

_ g _ .
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~L~3~

As will be appreciated by the skilled artisan9 the instant process provides considerable flexib;lity in the physical preparation of laminates of thermoplastic resins reinEorced with glass fibers.
Thus, pressure may be applied in the hot zone 120 through the use of platens 121 and 122 to any desired degree within the limits of the machine.
In general, pressures can be varied from t) to 30 psig and typicalLy they range from 20 to 3a psig. Similarly in the hot æone l20 heat may be applied in a range of values to insure adequate flow of resin throughout the glass fiber matrix as the pressure is applied for a given line speed of conveyors or belts 105 and 106. Thus, temperature of 300UF. to 600F. ~-(149~C. to 316~C.~ are typically used in zone 120 to insure resin temper-ature in the range of 250-F. to 550F. (121C. to 288C.). It has been found that for a polyolefin a resin temperature range of 400F. to 450F.
(204C. to 232C.) is preferred. -In the operation of zone 130 the application of pressures through platens 131 and 132 as the laminate from zone 120 enters zone 130 can be used to precisely control the void volume of the Einished laminate 140; a condiCion that was not heretofore possible with con-tinuous Laminating processes such as shown in FIG. 2. Thus, if pressure in zone 130 is maintained at a value greater than that in zone 120 it wiLl result in a low void or almost zero void product. In a typical operation of the system of FIG. 2, for example, it has been found that in laminating a polypropylene with glass fiber mats at 30 psig in the hot zone that a pressure of less ~han 1 psig is realized in the cooling zone 22 and the resulting product has a void content of 8 to 10 percent by volume. -Using the process of FIG. 1 and applying 30 psig in both the hot zone 120 and the cooling 130 a product having 3 to 4 percent voids by volume is .

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.-- . . . ..

typical. Lower void volume content using higher pressures in the cooling zone 130 than used in the heating zone are readily obtained.
Void content may also be controlled to some e~tent by usin~
molten resin alone without having recourse to laminating systems using sheet products. Thus, by using molten resin 104 alone with mats 102 and 103 and eliminating the overlay sheets lO0 and IOl, the laminate produced is found to possess considerably less void volume than laminate produced using overlay resin sheets. If surface appearances are not of paramount importance, this provides a useful system for continuous production of low void volume 1aminates. Coupling this with careful control of ~he pressure in the cooling area of the laminating process to maintain it at or greater than the pressure in the heating zone of the process produces laminates having consistently low void volumes.
In general the fiber glass mats employed in the preparation of laminates in accordance with the instant process are needled to provide ma~ integrity and to supply broken filaments and strands to the mat so that it possesses inherently after needling lO to 25 percent by weight of the mat of short fibers (i.e. fibers in the range of to l inch or le s in length) with the balance of the mat being composed of longer strands.
The continuous strand mats may be formed by the process of U. S. Patent 3,883,333 from fibers ranging in diameter from a "T" fiber to a l'G" or less. I'he strands of fibers used to prepare the mat are typically in bundles of 50 fibers or less although bundles of fibers with lOa or more -filaments may be usecl.
The continuous strand mat may be- prepared directly from a bushing as in U. S. Patent 3,883,333 or it` may be formed by drawing strands from previously formed forming pac~ages with a suitable attenuator ~ ~ .
.
~ .'' ' , : ' ' and laying the strands on a conveyor in a manner sin~ilar to that described in U. S. Patent 3,883,333.
In FIG. 2 preformed films of thermoplastic 100 and 101 are used with a molten ex~rudate 104 being placed between the glass mats lOZ
and 103. It is not necessary that the process be conducted in this manner although this method does represent a preferred method of opera-tion. It is contemplated that the process oE the instant invention may be conducted by using multiple layers of extrudate, either fronl separate extruders or using a single, multiple head extruder. In the latter instance the mats or mat is Eed in such a manner that extrudate is fed on the outside of the glass mat as well as on the inside. The advantage o~
using extrudate in lieu of the film layers 100 and lOl is that the extru-date heat of the molten thermoplastic will not require the heat load in the hot zone 120 that is required to melt the iilms 100 and 101 and thus the machinery is not subjected to the heating loads used when film is employed. It is also contemplated that a single mat may be used itl conjunction aith a preformed thermoplastic film or l~ith extrudate alone.
It is preferred with single mat structures to employ extrudate rather thal~ film as the thermoplastic source. As stated above the use of extru-date where possible is desirable since the total energy input to the system is reduced if it is applied primarily to the resin employed by the extruder rather than through the indirect heat exchange system of the hot zone of the laminating machine. - -While the in~ention has been described with reference to : ~ .
certain specific embodiments, it is not intended to be limited thereby except Insofar as appears in ~he accompaDylng claims.

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Claims (7)

THE EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION IN WHICH AN EXCLUSIVE
PROPERTY OR PRIVILEGE IS CLAIMED ARE DEFINED AS FOLLOWS:
1. A method of preparing a fiber glass reinforced resin sheet comprising feeding a fiber glass mat to a heating zone, introduc-ing resin in said zone with said mat, applying pressure to the mat and resin at temperature sufficient to maintain the resin molten and thoroughly wet the mat with resin, and subjecting the mat to cooling at temperature sufficient to solidify the resin into a resin-mat sheet while maintaining pressure on the resin and mat during cooling at least equal to the pressure applied to the resin and mat in the heating zone and removing from the cooling zone a solid sheet of glass mat reinforced resin.
2. A method of preparing a fiber glass reinforced thermoplastic resin sheet comprising continuously feeding to a pressurized heating zone fiber glass mat and thermoplastic resin maintaining sufficient pressure and temperature in said heating zone to thoroughly impregnate said fiber glass mat with molten resin, cooling the resin saturated mat and molten resin to a temperature sufficient to solidify said resin, maintaining pressure on said resin and resin saturated mat during cooling at least equal to the pressure applied in said heating zone and removing from the cooling zone a solid sheet of fiber glass reinforced thermoplastic resin.
3. The process of Claim 1 wherein the pressure on the resin and mat in the said cooling zone is maintained at a value higher than the pressure on the resin and mat in said heating zone.
4. The process of Claim 2 wherein the pressure applied to the resin and mat in said cooling zone is greater than the pressure applied to the resin and mat in the heating zone.
5. A method of preparing a fiber glass reinforced thermoplastic resin sheet comprising feeding to a heated laminating zone glass mat and molten thermoplastic resin, applying pressure to the mat and resin in the laminating zone of at between 20 to 30 psig while maintaining temperature sufficient to maintain said resin in a molten state, feeding the resin and mat continuously from said laminating zone into a cooling zone, applying pressure of 20 to 30 psig to said resin and mat in said cooling zone but at least as great as the pressure used in said heating zone and cooling the resin and mat in said zone to a temperature sufficient to solidify said resin and removing a solid sheet of fiber glass reinforced resin from said cooling zone.
6. A method of preparing a fiber glass reinforced thermoplastic resin sheet comprising feeding to a heated laminating zone two glass mats, molten thermoplastic resin and two sheets of thermoplastic film, said molten thermoplastic resin being fed in between the said glass mats and the sheets of thermoplastic film being fed on the outside of each of said mats, applying pressure to the mats, said molten thermoplastic resin and said thermoplastic film and heat in sufficient amount to cause said film to become molten, passing the resulting resin-mat composite to a cooling zone maintained at a pressure at least equal to the heated laminating zone and cooling the said composite therein to a temperature sufficient to solidify said composite into a solid sheet of fiber glass reinforced thermoplastic resin.
7. The method of Claim 6 wherein said laminating zone is at pressure of 20 to 30 psig and said cooling zone is at pressure of 20 to 30 psig.
CA000329280A 1978-12-04 1979-06-07 Process for laminating thermoplastic resin reinforced with fiber glass Expired CA1135923A (en)

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US96595678A true 1978-12-04 1978-12-04
US965,956 1978-12-04

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JP (1) JPS6315135B2 (en)
BE (1) BE876870A (en)
CA (1) CA1135923A (en)
CH (1) CH629700A5 (en)
DE (1) DE2948235C2 (en)
FR (1) FR2443325B1 (en)
GB (1) GB2040801B (en)
IT (1) IT1124939B (en)
NL (1) NL7904768A (en)

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DE2948235C2 (en) 1985-06-05
IT7927130D0 (en) 1979-11-08
FR2443325B1 (en) 1982-12-03
DE2948235A1 (en) 1980-06-12
CH629700A5 (en) 1982-05-14
CA1135923A1 (en)
NL7904768A (en) 1980-06-06
JPS6315135B2 (en) 1988-04-04
JPS5577525A (en) 1980-06-11
BE876870A (en) 1979-12-10
GB2040801A (en) 1980-09-03
GB2040801B (en) 1982-12-08
BE876870A1 (en)
FR2443325A1 (en) 1980-07-04
IT1124939B (en) 1986-05-14

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