Curv® is an ideal material for luggage and transportation cases. It can be used for the entire shell or for lightweight reinforcement. Some well-proven examples are suitcases, briefcases, tool cases, and backpacks.
The high impact strength of Curv® is one of the critical features for this end-use. The impact strength is achieved by our unique compaction process, using fabrics made of highly oriented polypropylene tapes. The performance of Curv® surpasses most other materials used in the luggage industry.
Samsonite manufactures suitcases from Curv® and rigorously tests these suitcases. Samsonite has run over the suitcase with a truck and attaches the still intact piece of luggage to the wall with chewing gum. The case regains its shape without cracking or splitting. No other suitcase material provides the same combination of strength and lightweight.
The woven structure imbedded in the Curv® sheet enables high energy absorption and prevents splintering or brittle failure of the material. The impact strength of Curv® is about 3,400 J/m at room temperature and the material increases in strength and remains ductile at sub-zero temperatures. This strength, paired with the high rigidity of Curv® (four times higher than standard polypropylene), makes wall thicknesses of less than 1 mm feasible without additional stiffeners. The result is a piece of luggage that is robust and durable, yet flexible, in all climatic conditions. Curv® is also valued in other cases, for transporting guns or bicycles.
The unique look of Curv® is also attractive in the consumer sector. The carbon fiber-like design can be customized in a variety of colors. Curv® can be supplied with an outer protective layer, or with a metallic, three-dimensional effect. Curv® is supplied as a prefabricated sheet or in rolls, depending on the thickness. Thermoforming of Curv® can be done with a conventional hydraulic press, with slight modifications.
For larger luggage or transport box designs, Curv® can be supplied in a sandwich construction on a foam or honeycomb core. Choosing a polypropylene core construction creates a material that can not only be bent and welded but is also recyclable. For example, Curv®-on-Core sandwich panels with a hexagonal honeycomb core are approx. 5 kg/m² lighter than birch plywood and are used to manufacture air cargo boxes. This type of transport box has proven its longevity in applications from NASA to rock bands. Other fields of application include coolers or refrigerated transport where Curv® not only provides strength at lightweight but also effective insulation, demonstrating ductility and impact toughness at low temperatures.
In the automotive sector, Curv® is used in both interior and exterior components. Exterior applications include bumpers, spoilers, body panels, underbody shields, truck bodies, and wheel wells. Interior applications include headliners, door panels, airbag components, cargo floor covers, knee bolsters, pillar coverings, and luggage racks. In the area of passenger protection, Curv® is valued as superior to alternative materials. Curv®, as a component in a textile airbag hinge, is used by many European car manufacturers. It does not splinter or throw fragments when the airbag is triggered, even when the airbag is activated at low temperatures.
Curv® is used for local reinforcement in applications in over-injected molded components, including battery boxes, supports for door liners, and dashboards. Using Curv® as an inlay increases the performance of the part without heavily investing in new materials or technologies. A pre-heated Curv® insert is placed in the mold. During the over-injection, Curv® bonds with the polymer melt without compromising the properties of the composite. The resulting parts demonstrate improved impact resistance, better crash behavior through higher energy absorption, improved wear resistance, and/or material and weight savings.
Sporting goods are a versatile application area, ranging from ice hockey, football, skating, and cycling to kite-surfing, paddle tennis, and many more. Depending on a customer’s needs, Curv® can be supplied in a variety of thicknesses, constructions, and designs and with a broad array of processing options. Curv® also scores high in the consumer sector with its unique and attractive appearance. The carbon fiber-like look can be customized in a variety of colors. The three-dimensional depth visual effect of Curv® can also be combined with different surface textures for a unique appearance.
In one application, 1mm thick Curv® sheets are thermoformed into helmets for recreational and competitive sports. The compression of Curv® in the heated state at an elongation of about 50% allow achievement of the desired shell geometry. A helmet of 100% polypropylene can be produced by the proper selection of other components. Thanks to Curv®, the 300g helmet weight is much lighter than many comparable helmets for cycling, skiing, and roller skating made from carbon fiber composites.
Protective equipment made of Curv® is also used in various other sports. It is valued for its combination of lightweight and impact resistance. Our self-reinforced composite provides reliable protection of the athlete. Soccer shin guards are a classic field of application. Another field is American football. Shoulder pads made of Curv®, 1.5 mm to 2 mm thick, are the lightest pads on the market. In ice hockey, Curv® is used in shoulder pads, elbow pads and shin guards, and other protective applications. For these applications, in general, typical material processing methods are sufficient, and conventional forming plants can achieve very good results.
The excellent multi-hit resistance is also utilized by the leading manufacturer of paddle racquets, the rackets of a tennis-like sport. As a liner or outer layer of complex hybrid construction, Curv® gives the racket the impact resistance, resilience and longevity unmatched by other composite materials. Curv® can be used in a lot of hybrid constructions. The material can be customized to bond to a variety of other materials or to modify the mechanical properties to achieve the desired result.
Curv® is also found in equipment for water sports, where the low density of polypropylene (0.92 g /cm³) and the negligible water absorption of the material are valued.
Curv® gives ultra-light support and dynamic comfort to a kite waist harness. Its high stiffness helps to transfer the pull of the kite to the body.
A Curv® sandwich panel, in a polypropylene honeycomb structure, is the material used to construct a canoe. A sturdy, two-person, origami-style boat is fabricated using bending technology and a special design. The canoe can be folded to suitcase size and easily transported and stored due to its low weight.
Curv® is used in anti-ballistics in conjunction with a bullet-resistant material such as aramid. The aramid material stops the projectile, the most important task of ballistic protection. However, the kinetic energy of the projectile impact can cause blunt trauma to a person wearing protection. A thin layer of Curv® incorporated behind the aramid layer disperses the impact energy over a wider area, reducing the blunt trauma to the wearer.
The use of such a Curv®-aramid laminate is shown to significantly reduce the back face deformation caused by a non-penetrating projectile. The deformation of the back face is reduced by 30% when our thinnest Curv® material is used in combination with aramid. The deformation can be further reduced to more than 45% by using Curv® of less than 600 g/m². The trauma is correspondingly lower, without sacrificing comfort or adding significant extra weight. Ballistic protection vests using a Curv®-aramid laminate are manufactured by Teijin Aramids (Twaron LFT AT / AT Flex products), jointly developed with Propex and the best combination of weight, volume, and protection available in the market.
Curv® has been successfully used for soft ballistic protective equipment. The stability and high potential for energy dispersion of Curv® are ideal as a framework for an anti-ballistic pack. Other anti-ballistic applications made from Curv® are in the fields of helmets and protectors. Curv® can also be used in vehicle hard armor applications for reinforcing body parts or as anti-spalling protection in military vehicles.
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Propex Furnishing Solutions (PFS) leads the global self-reinforced composites industry in innovation. Between our plants in the USA, Germany, and Hungary, PFS is continuously pioneering innovative composite solutions for a myriad of industries. At PFS, we are creating a stable foundation for products that the world uses every day.