BP Open Self Reinforced Polypropylene Plant

BP have just opened their first large-scale self reinforced polypropylene composite (Curv TM) plant. The facility has been integrated into the BP fabrics and fibres division at Gronau in Germany.

The plant will initially be producing approximately 5000 tonnes per year of 0.3 to 3.0mm thick sheets and rolls. The material itself consists of polypropylene fibres in a polypropylene matrix, hence the term self reinforced.

The process for manufacturing Curv is patented and involves “hot compaction” technology. It involves exposure of highly drawn fibres to specific conditions which results in the melting of a thin surface layer. The melted material materials is then recrystallised to form the matrix. The resultant material retains about 80% of the fibre properties and exhibits strength and stiffness more akin to those of glass matt thermoplastics.

BP’s Curv material has been under evaluation from a number of high profile manufacturers. Applications include automotive, personal protection and sporting equipment and transportation cases.

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