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Momentive, Woco-Group Launch Fiber-Reinforced LSR Materials

Albany, N.Y.-based Momentive Performance Materials Inc. -- a provider of high-technology specialty materials solutions for silicone, quartz and ceramics applications -- and Germany-based Woco-Group -- a family-owned developer and manufacturer of components for automotive and industrial applications -- have codeveloped a new line of fiber-reinforced liquid silicone rubber (LSR) materials. According to the companies, the new materials process similarly to traditional LSRs with respect to flowability and cure speed, but offer increased modulus owing to the incorporation of textile fibres that have been chemically bonded to the silicone substrate.

"Fiber-reinforced elastomers have been used in the industry for decades," said Oliver Franssen, global marketing manager, elastomers automotive, Momentive. "However, outside of the tire industry only little has been done in the area of automotive mass-production applications. Together with Woco, we have developed a new approach, where the fibers are bonded to the substrate, and where short cycle times in LSR injection molding can be achieved. Based on the heterogeneous fiber distribution in the low viscosity LSR, the development of complex reinforced parts with homogeneous material properties is now possible."

The new materials are targeted to products such as membranes, pressure hoses and exhaust hangers and other applications that require the addition of reinforcement to the silicone elastomer in order to withstand pressure or to enhance product safety. Momentive reports that the high yield and reduced material waste of the new process can reduce costs substantially; and in certain applications, using the materials can lead to significant weight reductions.

October 6, 2009