As a consequence of the continuous research job aimed at identifying and studying innovative materials characterized by excellent properties (from the thermal, mechanical or chemical point of view), Grado Zero Espace developed own knowledge about various plastics associated by high performances in their specific application field (sport & safe equipments, automotive, aerospace, boating, etc).
These plastics can be subdivided in three macro-areas related to different requirements and applications: fibers, mouldable thermoplastics, thermosetting resins.
Under this section can be grouped all those textile fibers coming from proper synthesis and extrusion processes and which are characterized by high mechanical, temperature, fire and/or chemicals resistances; fibers belonging to this category are usually composed by different aramidic polymers, Liquid Crystal Polymers, preoxidized polymers, Ultra High Molecular Weight PolyEthylene, etc.
Aramidic fibers are characterized by excellent resistance to high temperature and mechanical properties and can be further subdivided into meta- or para-aramides depending on the structure of the main polymer chain: Kermel® and Nomex® are trade names of the principal meta-aramides, characterized by a good touch as well as excellent fire and thermal resistances, since the fact that they don't burn in normal oxygen levels; Kevlar®, instead, is the principal para-aramidic product and is characterized by excellent tensile strength and Young's modulus, in particular if related to the density of the material.
Liquid Crystal Polymers is a class of polymers composed by aromatic polyesters, with high temperature, fire and chemicals resistances: Vectran®, the main representative of this material category, shows excellent mechanical properties at high temperatures and after exposure to several temperature cycles, highest resistance to chemical attacks and environmental conditions (in particular UV radiations).
In order to increase the application possibilities of this interesting material Grado Zero Espace developed the Vectrasilk.
Another category of plastic material which kept high commercial and industrial interest involves mouldable thermoplastic polymers, characterized by outstanding mechanical, thermal and/or chemical properties.
Grado Zero Espace developed a deep knowledge on various polymers of this kind and is able to analyse final product's requirements as well as manufacturer requests/necessities, in order to choose the material characterized by the most proper chemical-physical properties and performances. The most important properties shown by thermoplastic resins used by Grado Zero Espace are high melting and continuous use temperatures (up to 360°C and 275°C, respectively), high resistance to chemical attack, impact, flexure (up to 400 MPa), traction (up to 280 MPa) and Young's modulus (up to 24 GPa): obviously, all these properties can noticeably vary from product to product, so that it will be possible to choose the most suitable material for the specific application.
Grado Zero Espace is also involved in the study, characterization and successive development of high performance thermosetting resins and their possible composites and/or nano-composites.
The matrix is usually composed by epoxy-based polymer, while fibers and fabrics employed for manufacturing the composite can be chosen between glass, aramidic or carbon ones.
At the same time with the choice of the fiber/fabric and the specific type of resin to be used for the specific application, it's possible to obtain an high added valued product by applying Carbon Nanotubes Technology: by the proper doping of the polymeric matrix with CNTs it's possible to obtain a nanocomposite with better performances than the original product.