Resource-efficient process to produce a new high-performance thermoplastic

© Covestro Deutschland AG

Used as a matrix material in composites, high-performance plastics play an important role in aircraft construction, among other things. At present, very few materials meet the specific requirements involved and manufacturing them is very energy- and resource-intensive.

The partners in the “DreamCompoundConti” project are developing a new High Performance Thermoplastic (HPT) that is superior to other plastics in terms of its temperature and chemical resistance and mechanical properties. HPT relies on readily accessible basic chemicals that do not have to be manufactured specifically for this application. CO2 emissions and energy are saved throughout the entire process because it eliminates complex process stages compared to the production of conventional high-performance thermoplastics. 

An initial life cycle assessment shows that the emissions of greenhouse gases are cut by more than 20 percent when producing HPT compared to similar thermoplastics. At the same time, the innovative continuous process requires fewer solvents. This is why a much better life cycle assessment is expected for HPT compared to conventional processes.

As the coordinator of the project, Covestro is developing the continuous production process and driving application development. The Kunststoff-Zentrum in Leipzig is responsible for testing the material and for parts of the economic analysis, and Airbus is also involved in the material tests. The Chair for Chemical Engineering/Chemical Reaction Engineering at the Technische Universität Berlin contributes a techno-economic analysis and provides support in identifying and testing innovative applications. The Chair of Technical Thermodynamics at the RWTH Aachen University conducts the life cycle analysis.