Differentiation of Resins in Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) by FTIR

Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is a composite material which is produced by strengthening a resin with carbon fiber, and has the outstanding features of light weight in combination with high strength and high rigidity. In recent years, CFRP has been applied in a wide range of fields, including transportation equipment such as aircraft and automobiles and civil engineering and construction. The main type of CFRP used in aircraft and high-speed railway applications is thermosetting CFRP, in which a thermosetting resin is hardened by heating. Epoxy resin is a representative base material. Although thermosetting CFRP has extremely high strength and rigidity, problems include (1) the time required for production, (2) high difficulty of secondary processing, as thermosetting CFRPs do not exhibit deformation behavior like that of steel and plastics, and (3) difficulty of recycling and high production cost. On the other hand, application of thermoplastic CFRPs to automotive structural parts is also under study. Thermoplastic CFRPs utilize resins which soften when heated, and the representative resins used in this type span a wide range, including polyamide (PA), polycarbonate (PC), polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), and others. While the thermoplastic CFRPs are inferior to thermosetting CFRPs in terms of strength and rigidity, their mass producibility is excellent and secondary processing is easy. Moreover, because recycling is possible, production costs can also be held to a comparatively low level. For these reasons, thermoplastic CFRPs have attracted considerable attention as new materials for realizing weight reduction in mass production-type automobiles. Because the resins used in CFRPs can be differentiated easily by analysis by Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometry (FTIR), FTIR is an effective tool for quality control when determining the resin components of CFRPs before recycling. In this article, thermosetting and thermoplastic CFRPs were measured by FTIR and their component resins were differentiated.

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Application News
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Molecular Spectroscopy, FTIR Spectrophotometers
Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP), Materials/Automotive, Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics, IRSpirit Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectrometer
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