Speciality chemicals company Evonik is opening a ‘Composites Project House’ in Germany to develop new materials for use in lightweight construction.
Evonik’s 10th ‘project house’ will be based primarily in Marl, with a branch in Darmstadt.
“Our aim in setting up the Composites Project House is to expand our expertise in the field of composites,” says Dr Dahai Yu, Evonik’s Executive Board member responsible for the Specialty Materials segment.
Evonik’s products for the composites sector include the ROHACELL® structural foam core material, VESTAMIN® hardener component for thermoplastic matrix systems, and VESTAKEEP® matrix for thermoplastic 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 [thermosetting composites], explains Dr Sandra Reemers, head of the Composites Project House. “Duroplastics have a very high level of mechanical stability and do not deform under pressure.”
“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.”
Evonik’s ‘project houses’ are strategic R&D units, where experts from several operating units and external experts work together on issues that will expand Evonik’s portfolio. The research findings are then commercialised by Evonik’s operating units or an internal start-up.