Ultra-lightweight carbon fibre/thermoplastic composite material using spread tow technology

Hassan M. El-Dessouky, Carl A. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports a study of a method for achieving ultra-lightweight thermoplastic composites referred to as tow-spreading technology, whereby a conventional 12k carbon fibre (CF) tow is thinned by increasing the tow width from 5 mm to approximately 25 mm, thereby reducing the weight per unit area by approximately 500%. Using the tow-spreading technology, sheets of unidirectional and/or woven fabric may be produced. Thermoplastic film of polyphenylene sulphide (PPS) was used to stabilise and impregnate the spread tow fabric, converting it into a partially consolidated prepreg; woven 12k CF spread tow/PPS (55/45 wt%). A consolidated laminate was then made from the prepreg, and for comparison, a second laminate was produced from a conventional woven prepreg of 3k CF/PPS (60/40 wt%). The spread tow laminate exhibited better fibre packing, lower level of crimp, lower void content and improved mechanical properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-97
Number of pages7
JournalComposites Part B: Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


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