Mitsuya's PrePreg Sheets Made with Victrex APTIV(TM) Film, Thinner than Traditional Carbon Fiber Composite Materials


Tokyo - Victrex Japan, Inc, a subsidiary of Victrex plc, an innovative leading manufacturer of high performance materials, including VICTREX® PEEK(TM) polymer, VICOTE® Coatings and APTIV(TM) films, announced that Mitsuya, a company developing carbon fiber composite materials, has developed a prepreg sheet with thinner layers than a traditional one by using Victrex's APTIV Films.

Carbon fibers are manufactured into tows consisting of several thousand strips of carbon fiber. When manufacturing prepregs, a technology that opens the tows and continuously spreads them widely, thinly and evenly, and then processes them into a form of a sheet becomes important. Mr. Imada, the management and venture capital department group of Mitsuya, says "the technological development we have achieved this time has been a thinner and higher quality carbon fiber layered sheet by using VICTREX PEEK as the main ingredient and APTIV Films inheriting the same characteristics of VICTREX PEEK as the matrix polymer. The tow opening process technology that developed at the Fukui Prefecture Industrial Technology Center has been used to manufacture these thin layered sheet materials. With this technology, we are able to manufacture carbon fiber sheets that are thinner without cutting or spreading out the strips of carbon fiber unevenly. By using this sheet material, we are able to manufacture thinner and lighter prepregs than ever before. Moreover, since the fibers are spread out evenly, there is also the benefit of easier polymer impregnation."

A carbon fiber composite material (prepregs) is a processing material made from a carbon fiber textile impregnated with polymers that is shaped into a sheet. Due to its high heat resistance, material strength, and lightness characteristics, it is often used in athletic products and F1 cars. Especially in recent years, anticipating lower operational costs from aircraft weight reduction, carbon fiber composite materials have been attracting attention in the aircraft manufacturing industry. Moreover, higher demands for improved fuel efficiency from vehicle weight reduction in the auto industry are also leading to further adoption of these materials.

Victrex has worked successfully with a number of composite material manufacturers and end-users on technology development for composite materials using matrix polymers (a polymer material used for textile impregnation) made from VICTREX PEEK polymer but until now the sheet thickness was similar to traditional products, 120-100 µm, but using APTIV films Mitsuya can now manufacture the sheets of the thickness of 40µm or less.

The carbon fiber composite material developed by Mitsuya is a UD prepreg (uni-directional prepreg) processed into a shape of a sheet combined with APTIV Films and strips of carbon fiber lined up in one direction. Not only has this UD prepregs succeeded in forming uni-directional layers but also multiaxial layered prepregs molded through heat and pressure treatment and combined in multiple directions.

Mr. Onuma, the APTIV business leader at Victrex Japan, says "thinner prepregs have excellent evenness/balance when used in layer processes. You can manufacture molded products that can accommodate a wide range of thickness requirements. Structural parts for aircraft requiring material strength in order to withstand impact from multiple directions usually use multiaxial layered prepregs, so we expect our technological development this time will prompt more people/companies to seek for more demands in the future. In addition, "we will continue to cooperate with composite material manufacturers and end-users and will support them in various ways, such as developing prototypes, designs, and commercialization".

About Victrex:
Headquartered in the UK, Victrex plc is an innovative leading manufacturer of high performance materials, including VICTREX® PEEK(TM) polymer, VICOTE® Coatings and APTIV(TM) film. These materials are used in a variety of markets and offer an exceptional combination of properties to help processors and end users reach new levels of cost savings, quality, and performance. All Victrex material production comes under Victrex's ISO 9001 quality registration.

For more information please visit www.victrex.com.

VICTREX® is a registered trademark of Victrex Manufacturing Limited. PEEK(TM), PEEK-HT(TM) and APTIV(TM) are trademarks of Victrex plc. VICOTE® is a registered trademark of Victrex plc.

About Mitsuya:
Mitsuya is a textile processing chemical manufacturer providing services from manufacturing textiles/related products to textile dying. Furthermore, beginning with chemical/synthetic textiles and composite materials made from acetate rayon and polyester, it has been recently focusing on the development of next generational composite materials such as carbon reinforced fiber composite materials. (http://www.e-mitsuya.jp)

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