Cyclic Thermoplastics Process Like Thermosets
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - Cyclics Corporation announced an agreement today to purchase almost 50 US and foreign patents that cover cyclic compositions of polycarbonate, polyarylate, and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) from General Electric Company. These cyclics process reactively, like a thermoset resin, but retain thermoplastic properties in their final state. The low initial viscosity allows these resins to be mixed thoroughly with fiber reinforcements to create thermoplastic composites. Among the many benefits of a thermoplastic composite are the ability to recycle parts, increased damage tolerance, the ability to thermoform and weld to like thermoplastics, and the ease of repair.
"This unique technology marries the processing ability of a thermoset with the material properties of a thermoplastic" said John Ciovacco, President and CEO of Cyclics Corporation. " The combined processing characteristics of reaction speed and low viscosity are superior to existing thermoset technologies." The reaction to polymerize cyclic forms of PBT is quick, from a few seconds to a few minutes depending upon the catalyst, without producing an exotherm. Overall processing speed is even faster because parts can be taken out of the mold without cooling the mold first. In addition, choosing different initiators can yield a variety of properties in the resulting thermoplastic polymer including green strength, molecular weight, modulus, melt viscosity, impact and solvent resistance.
"The demonstrated properties of cyclic thermoplastics will provide dramatic improvements in a wide range of applications including construction and infrastructure, transportation, sports equipment, aerospace and the list keeps growing," added Ciovacco. Everything from bicycle frames to bridges could benefit from the damage tolerance of a thermoplastic matrix. Off-shore oil rigs and shipping containers could be effectively repaired when damaged and ultimately recycled. Hockey stick blades could be thermoformed to individual preferences. Automotive parts could also be created which are lightweight, strong, and recyclable.
With water-like viscosity, these cyclic materials can wet-out continuous fibers while achieving high fiber volumes. Intermediate products, such as pre-impregnated yarns or fabrics, sheet molding material, flat blanks, and long fiber compounds, can be made far more cost effectively.
Cyclics Corporation is setting up laboratory facilities in the Albany, NY. The newly formed company is assembling the management team and pursuing investment from a variety of sources. The first round of financing is expected to be closed in a few months. Experimental quantities of cyclic thermoplastic resin should be available soon thereafter.
Cyclics Corporation is a start-up business formed to commercialize an innovative plastic technology, known as cyclic thermoplastics, based on technology developed and patented by GE. Cyclic thermoplastics offer the processing advantages of a thermoset but retain the material properties of a thermoplastic making thermoplastic structural composites a reality.