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Automotive LFT technology makes leap in to solar sector

June 02/2011

(Plastics Today) -- Long long-fiber thermoplastic (LFT)-polypropylene (PP) compounds are extensively employed in automotive applications. They are now taking on a new challenge in a solar application that requires both non-halogenated flame retardance and colorability.

The need to develop these new FR LFT-PP grades arose from the requirement of Tulipps Solar B.V. (Eindhoven, The Netherlands), a startup company working on a new composite-based solar photovoltaic (PV) module system for flat roofs in which the composites are used in place of aluminum components. New regulations are anticipated in many geographies requiring all plastic materials used on roofs to be flame retarded.

Since the composites used in Tulipps' module system needed to be formulated to offer an extremely demanding target service life of 25 years or longer, company founder and managing director, Paul Stassen wanted to ensure the units would comply not only with current regulations but also with future requirements. That presented an interesting challenge, since the composite module system needed both to be flame retardant as well as lightweight and thin, and therefore required high stiffness and strength plus excellent long-term durability - properties that can be affected by the non-halogenated additives package.

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