Advanced Thermoset Composites for Motorsport and Formula 1 Applications

TenCate Advanced Composites provides advanced thermoplastic and thermoset materials for aerospace and industrial applications. The company supplies its thermoset-based advanced composite prepregs in fabric and unidirectional (UD) tape form. It controls resin content and the degree of impregnation using both direct impregnation and film impregnation in order to address the processing and handling requirements specific to each customer. A range of proprietary resin systems including high temperature cyanate esters, BMIs and toughened epoxies and a variety of reinforcement materials such as aramid, glass and carbon-based reinforcements are used by TenCate Advanced Composites.


TenCate Advanced Composites offers a myriad of composite material solutions to meet each specific application within the high-end motorsport and Formula 1 market (Figure 1). Since the company has made continuous investment in product development, it has developed a comprehensive line of high performance thermoset materials for a broad range of motorsport applications, such as chassis, suspension parts, gear box, crash structures, body parts, nose cone, side impact protection, and floor panel (Figure 2).

TenCate and Motorsport

TenCate and Motorsport

Figure 1. TenCate Advanced Composites have a broad range of composite material solutions to suit a diverse range of applications within the Formula 1 and high-end motorsport market.

TenCate and Motorsport

Figure 2. Motorsport product applications of TenCate materials.

TenCate’s Thermoset Composites

The composite material solutions offered by TenCate are lightweight, energy-absorbing materials with high strength-to-weight ratio, superior stiffness, fracture toughness, good material handleability, outstanding cosmetic finish, and good impact resistance. They are also bondable to honeycomb core. The motorsport industry uses the complete line of TenCate products, ranging from low temperature to high temperature curing prepregs. Low temperature curing epoxies are ideal products for use in wind tunnel testing and prototyping (Table 1).

Table 1. Low temperature curing prepregs.

Product name Resin type Tg Typical cure time / cure temp Description of properties Application examples Reinforcement type
Fabric UD
TenCate E644 Epoxy 124 °C
(255 °F)
3.5 hours
at 70 °C (158 °F)
Excellent surface finish Wind tunnel prototyping Ο
TenCate E650 Epoxy 121 °C
(250 °F)
3.5 hours
at 70 °C (158 °F)
Medium tack level,
easier lamination
Wind tunnel prototyping Ο

Mid temperature curing epoxies are most suitable for structural components (Table 2). Cyanate esters exhibit high temperature resistance and durability in extreme conditions. TenCate also offers its thermoset materials with glass or carbon in woven or unidirectional reinforcements. Table 3 lists the high service temperature products offered by TenCate.

Table 2. Mid temperature curing prepregs.

Product name Resin type Tg Typical cure time / cure temp Description of properties Application examples Reinforcement type
Fabric UD
TenCate E760
Epoxy 204 °C
(399 °F)
2 hours
at 180 °C (356 °F)
High temperature resistance
and high mechanical performance
High temperature e.g. rear suspension Ο Ο
TenCate TC350-1 Epoxy 191 °C
(376 °F)
2 hours
at 177 °C (350 °F)
High compression after impact High impact areas e.g. chassis Ο Ο
TenCate E750
Epoxy 148 °C
(298 °F)
60 minutes
at 135 °C (275 °F)
Variable temperature
cure, starting at 80 °C (176 °F)
High impact areas, body work Ο Ο
TenCate E731
Epoxy 140 °C
(284 °F)
60 minutes
at 125 °C (257 °F)
High cosmetic clarity E.g. centre console Ο Ο
TenCate E721-FR FR Epoxy 120 °C
(248 °F)
60 minutes
at 120 °C (248 °F)
Fire retardant version of E720 Internal body work Ο Ο
TenCate E722 Epoxy 120 °C
(248 °F)
60 minutes
at 120 °C (248 °F)
Excellent drapability
Greater rigidity
Monolithic parts Ο Ο
TenCate E745
Epoxy 118 °C
(244 °F)
60 minutes
at 135 °C (275 °F)
High toughness and
impact properties
Side impact structures,
F1 nose cones
TenCate E720 Epoxy 110 °C
(230 °F)
60 minutes
at 120 °C (248 °F)
Honeycomb bondable Ambient structural Ο Ο

Full mechanical data is available please call us at TenCate Advanced Composites (UK) to discuss your requirements.

Table 3. High service temperature.

Product name Resin type Tg Typical cure time / cure temp Description of properties Aplication examples Reinforcement type
Fabric UD
TenCate C640 Cyanate ester 335 °C (635 °F) 10 hours at 80 °C (176 °F) followed by 300 °C (572 °F) postcure High temperature resistance and variable temperature cure Brake ducts Ο

TenCate C740 Cyanate ester 325 °C (617 °F) 60 minutes at 135°C (275 °F) followed by 300 °C (572°F) postcure High temperature resistance and longer out life for larger parts Pipework and ducting, exhaust area Ο

TenCate TC420 Cyanate ester 321 °C (610 °F) 3 hours at 177 °C (350 °F), followed by 260 °C (500 °F) post cure Excellent thermal stability, resistance to microcracking Gear box Ο

TenCate RS-8HT BMI 255 °C (545 °F) 2 hours at 204 °C (400 °F), followed by post cure of 6 hours at 230 °C (450 °F) Thermal stability, moderate toughness with good moisture resistance, available in RTM resin form Rear structural components Ο

TenCate AmberTool® Composite Tooling Solutions

The TenCate AmberTool® range of composite tooling solutions (Figure 3) has been used in the high performance motorsport industry for more than two decades. The range includes the HX and TC series and is marketed worldwide by an established tooling expert team. The extensive range of tooling solutions offered by TenCate provides customers with complete tool design options. The company is able to provide complete technical support thanks to its proven processing procedures, full tooling construction guidance, life-cycle maintenance control and expertise in surface treatments and advanced in-mold heating applications.

The TenCate AmberTool® range

Figure 3. The TenCate AmberTool® range of composite tooling solutions.

The TenCate AmberTool® range of prepregs is listed in Table 4.

Table 4. The TenCate AmberTool® prepregs.

following post-cure
Min cure temp Tack life End use temp Storage life Benefits
HX42 Onset: 200 °C (392 °F)
Peak Tan δ: 220 °C (428 °F)
50 °C (122 °F) 5 days 190 °C (374 °F) 12 months Excellent surface finish at
high temperatures
HX50 Onset: 190 °C (374 °F)
Peak Tan δ: 220 °C (428 °F)
40 °C (104 °F) 60 hours 180 °C (356 °F) 6 months Fast cure, excellent surface
Onset: 185 °C (365 °F)
Peak Tan δ: 209 °C (408 °F)
40 °C (104 °F) 50 hours 180 °C (356 °F) 6 months Two layer product for rapid
TC40* Onset: 213 °C (415 °F) 182 °C (360 °F) 14 days 199 °C (390 °F) 12 months Ultra high use temp BMI

*TenCate AmberTool® TC40 country of shipment is North America

The complete service support provided by TenCate facilitates a single supplier approach to address each and every composite tooling requirement. This ranges from material and master to technical support. With TenCate product solutions, a high degree of precision and accuracy can be achieved for all machined and molded applications.

The master and surface coat package comprises high performance epoxy block, EC85 surface coating technology, and various combinations of specialist sealing and release agents from Chem-Trend. TenCate Advanced Composites (UK) serves as a distributor for Chem-Trend, supplying mold cleaners, release agents, and sealers. The company also provides full tooling delivery solutions, such as:

  • Carbon and glass backing structures
  • Machinable
  • Fast delivery solutions for standard materials

Honeycomb and Core Materials

TenCate supplies composite tooling materials that are compatible with superior quality epoxy tooling boards such as Rampf WB-0700. These materials are supplied with density matched adhesive and repair paste for no witness lines. TenCate Advanced Composites (UK) owns the largest independent core processing facility in Europe. Flex-Core®, aluminum and Nomex® honeycomb materials are supplied by the company. Tables 5 and 6 summarize the honeycomb core and syntactic core materials.

Table 5. Honeycomb core.

Product name Configurations Description
Aluminium Honeycomb - Aerospace Grade 3.1-1/8-07N-5052
  • High strength-to-weight properties at relatively low cost
  • Structural aerospace grade aluminium honeycomb available in 5052 and 5056 alloy
  • Sheet size 1250 x 2500 mm except *1220 x 2440 mm
Nomex® Honeycomb - Aerospace Grade ANA-3.2-29 3.2mm 29kg/m3
ANA-3.2-48 3.2mm 48kg/m3
ANA-3.2-64 3.2mm 64kg/m3*
ANA-4.8-48(OX) 4.8mm 48kg/m3
  • Nomex® paper sheets are coated and bonded together with a high modulus phenolic resin
  • Fire resistant and self extinguishing
  • High temperature strength up to 180 °C (356 °F)
  • Sheet size 1250 x 2500 mm except *1220x 2440 mm
Nomex® Honeycomb - Commercial Grade ANC-3.2-48 3.2mm 48kg/m3
ANC-4.8-32 4.8mm 32kg/m3
ANC-4.8-48 4.8mm 48kg/m3
ANC-4.8-48(OX) 4.8mm 48kg/m3
  • Fire resistant and self extinguishing
  • Good thermal and electrical insulating properties
  • High strength-to-weight ratio and easily formable to shape
  • Sheet size 1250 x 2500mm
Aluminium Flex-Core® 5052/F80 - .0013N Density 4.3
5052/F80 - .0024N Density 8.0
5056/F80 - .0014N Density 4.3
  • Made from either 5052 or 5056 aluminium alloy foil and is available in two cell sizes <
  • Unique cell configurations that permit small radii of curvature without deformation of the cell walls or loss of mechanical properties
  • For leading edges, flaps, nacelles, fairings, doors and access covers, and other parabolic, spherical and cylindrical shapes

Additional grades can be sourced on request, subject to minimum order quantities and extended lead times.

Flex-Core® is a registered trademark of Hexcel. Nomex® is a registered trademark of E.I du Pont de Nemours and Company.

Table 6. Syntactic core.

Product name Resin type Tg (onset) Cure temp Description
TenCate Amlite LT64 Epoxy 130 °C (266 °F) 50-80 °C (122-176 °F)
  • Low temperature curing, low density, non expanding
  • Co-compatible with TenCate E600 series
TenCate Amlite SC8020A Epoxy 106 °C (223 °F) 80 °C (176 °F)
  • Low density, non expanding with flexible cure temperatures from 70-130 °C (158-266 °F)
TenCate Amlite SC72A Epoxy 106 °C (223 °F) 120 °C (248 °F)
  • Mid temperature curing, non expanding, ideal for sandwich structure under 3 mm (0.11”)
  • Excellent for edge close outs
TenCate Amspand ES72A-2 Epoxy 114 °C (237 °F) 125 °C (257 °F)
  • Expanding epoxy resin film
  • Varying density by tailoring cure pressure and / or volume

TenCate Advanced Composites

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by TenCate Advanced Composites.

For more information on this source, please visit TenCate Advanced Composites.


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