PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP1803551 16.08.2007
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001803551
Titel SANDWICHSTRUKTUR UND DIESE VERWENDENDER INTEGRIERTER FORMKÖRPER
Anmelder Toray Industries, Inc., Tokio/Tokyo, JP
Erfinder HONMA, Masato, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime 7900038, JP;
TSUCHIYA, Atsuki, Iyo-gun, Ehime 7913120, JP;
TAKEBE, Yoshiki, Iyo-gun, Ehime 7913120, JP;
ISHIKAWA, Syuji, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 2400016, JP
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HU, IE, IS, IT, LI, LT, LU, LV, MC, NL, PL, PT, RO, SE, SI, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 07.09.2005
EP-Aktenzeichen 057782575
WO-Anmeldetag 07.09.2005
PCT-Aktenzeichen PCT/JP2005/016381
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 2006028107
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 16.03.2006
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 04.07.2007
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 16.08.2007
IPC-Hauptklasse B32B 5/28(2006.01)A, F, I, 20070605, B, H, EP

Beschreibung[en]
TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a sandwich structure excellent in lightweight, thinness and stiffness. In more detail, a sandwich structure of the invention has one each fiber reinforced component disposed on both surfaces of a specific core component and has properties especially excellent in lightweight and thinness.

Further, the invention relates to an integrally formed article, in which a member having a planar form comprising the sandwich structure and another member with its shape changed in the thickness direction, are integrated. The integrally formed article can be preferably used for electric and electronic apparatuses, office automation apparatuses, electric household appliances, medical appliances, automobile parts, aircraft parts, building materials, etc.

BACKGROUND ART

Fiber reinforced plastics (FRP) reinforced by a group of continuous reinforcing fibers are often used as materials of structures requiring lightweight and mechanical properties for such applications as transport apparatuses including aircraft, automobiles, two wheelers and bicycles, sports goods including tennis rackets, golf club shafts and fishing rods, architectural structures including earthquake-resisting reinforcing materials, etc.

As a lighter weight structure having sufficient mechanical properties, a sandwich structure in which one each FRP component is disposed on the skins of a lightweight core component is known. For reducing the weight of a structure, a core component lighter in weight is selectively used, and a balsa core, honeycomb core, urethane foam core, etc. are frequently used as core components. Further, such sandwich structures are designed to satisfy practically required mechanical properties and are widely used as secondary structural materials of aircraft and also as automobile members, architectural members, panel members, etc.

Patent Document 1 proposes a sandwich structure having a thermosetting resin foam as a core, and this structure is considered to be useful as an architectural material having lightweight and high stiffness. Patent Document 2 proposes an automobile panel comprising a sandwich panel and a stiffener. Patent Document 3 proposes a housing for an electric or electronic apparatus obtained by forming a multi-layer sandwich sheet.

However, in case of these sandwich structures, it is difficult to satisfy both thinness and lightweight, and there is a limit for mass-producing a thin-walled complicatedly shaped article. The sandwich structure of Patent Document 1 cannot be used for forming a complicatedly shaped article, since it is a formed plate. The automobile panel of Patent Document 2 can have a certain shape by bonding a stiffener, but is limited in application to large molded articles, being not suitable for mass-producing a thin-walled complicatedly shaped article.

The thinness of a sandwich structure is greatly affected by the thickness of its core. However, in an ordinary sandwich structure, its core component usually has a certain thickness for enhancing the effect of improving stiffness, and any core component satisfying both lightweight and thinness and having excellent practicality has not been proposed. In case of known conventional core components such as a balsa core, honeycomb core and urethane foam core, it is not easy to produce a thin core, and even if a thin core can be produced, those materials have such problems that when they are formed into preforms, they are likely to be broken, and that they cannot endure the deformation needed for forming, to present a limit to thinning.

Patent Document 3 proposes an electronic apparatus housing having a sandwich structure in which a nonwoven fibrous sheet impregnated with hollow particles and a resin later solidified is used as its core component. In the sandwich structure, the core portion has a packed structure impregnated with a resin later solidified. So, it is insufficient in lightweight. Further, because of batch production, the technique is economically disadvantageous and is not suitable for mass production or for producing a complicatedly shaped article. A complicatedly shaped member has, for example, a hinge portion provided on an erected wall portion, a boss or rib portion, etc., and it is realistically difficult to form these portions with the structure.

On the other hand, the applications of FRP include housings of electric and electronic apparatuses such as personal computers, office automation apparatuses, audiovisual apparatuses, cell phones, telephone sets, facsimiles, household electric appliances and toys. These applications require mass productivity, moldability, productivity and economic efficiency, and in recent years, additionally, thinness and lightweight. To meet these requirements, magnesium alloys excellent in thinness and stiffness are used, but since metallic materials have large specific gravities, they are not quite satisfactory in view of lightweight. Patent Document 4 proposes an electronic apparatus housing obtained by integrating a planar FRP member and a thermoplastic member, which assures mass productivity and is excellent in thinness, stiffness and lightweight. It is anticipated that electronic apparatuses such as notebook-type personal computers, telephone sets and information terminals will be increasingly made portable and that aged users will further increase in future. So, it is highly demanded that these electronic apparatus housings are further reduced in weight.

Patent Document 1: JP 5-138797 A , page 2, line 1

Patent Document 2: JP 2002-284038 A , page 2, line 1

Patent Document 3: JP 5-42620 A , page 2, line 1

Patent Document 4: JP 2004-140255 A , page 2, line 1

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION Problems to Be Solved by the Invention

An object of the invention is to provide a sandwich structure excellent in lightweight and thinness in view of the above-mentioned prior art. Another object of the invention is to integrate the sandwich structure with another member, for providing an integrally formed article that can be mass-produced and is excellent in lightweight and thinness. A further other object of the invention is to provide a method for producing the sandwich structure of the invention and to provide a method for producing the integrally formed article of the invention.

Means for Solving the Problems

A sandwich structure of the invention is a sandwich structure (III) comprising a core component (I) and one each fiber reinforced component (II) composed of continuous reinforcing fibers (A) and a matrix resin (B) and disposed on both surfaces of the core component (I), in which the core component (I) has voids, a thickness of 0.1 to 1.5 mm and a specific gravity of 0.01 to 1.2; and the adhesive strength between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced component (II) measured according to ASTM D 3846 is 1 MPa or more.

In the sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that the core component (I) comprises a foamed body having closed cells.

In the sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that the core component (I) is formed of a polyolefin resin.

In the sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that a modified polyolefin resin layer is disposed between a layer of the core component (I) and a layer of the fiber reinforced component (II).

In the sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that the melt viscosity of the modified polyolefin resin measured at 160°C is 10 to 500 Pa.s.

In the sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that the modified polyolefin resin contains 20 wt% or more of an acid-modified polyolefin resin that has an acid value of 10 or more.

In the sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that the modified polyolefin resin is impregnated into bundles of the reinforcing fibers used in the fiber reinforced components (II), and that the maximum impregnation length of the modified polyolefin resin is 10 µm or more.

Another mode of a sandwich structure of the invention is a sandwich structure (III) comprising a core component (I) and one each fiber reinforced component (II) composed of continuous reinforcing fibers (A) and a matrix resin (B) and disposed on both surfaces of the core component (I), in which the core component (I) is composed of discontinuous reinforcing fibers and a thermoplastic resin; filaments of the discontinuous reinforcing fibers cross each other to form a void structure; the thermoplastic resin is disposed at crossing portions of the discontinuous reinforcing fibers; and the core component (I) has a thickness of 0.1 to 1.5 mm and a specific gravity of 0.1 to 1.0.

In the sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that the crossing portions of filaments in the core component (I) deposited with the thermoplastic resin account for 50% or more of all the crossing portions.

In the sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that the thermoplastic resin has a melting point or a load deflection temperature of 160°C or higher.

In the sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that a thermoplastic resin layer is disposed between a layer of the core component (I) and a layer of the fiber reinforced component (II); and a thermoplastic resin constituting the thermoplastic resin layer has a melting point or a load deflection temperature of 160°C or lower.

In the sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that the thermoplastic resin constituting the thermoplastic resin layer is impregnated into bundles of the reinforcing fibers used in the fiber reinforced components (II), and that the maximum impregnation length of the thermoplastic resin is 10 µm or more.

In the sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that the reinforcing fibers (A) are carbon fibers.

In the sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that the matrix resin (B) is a thermosetting resin.

An integrally formed article of the invention, in which a sandwich structure (III) of the invention as a first member and another structural member as a second member are bonded to each other; the first member has a planar form; and the second member has its shape changed in the thickness direction.

In the integrally formed article of the invention, it is preferred that the first member and the second member are bonded to each other through an adhesive layer.

In the integrally formed article of the invention, it is preferred that the adhesive layer is formed of a thermoplastic resin.

In the integrally formed article of the invention, it is preferred that the adhesive layer is bonded to the fiber reinforced component (II), and that the thermoplastic resin constituting the adhesive layer and the matrix resin (B) used in the fiber reinforced component (II) are bonded to each other with ruggedness formed at the joint interface.

In the integrally formed article of the invention, it is preferred that the thermoplastic resin constituting the adhesive layer is impregnated into bundles of the reinforcing fibers used in the fiber reinforced component (II), and that the maximum impregnation length is 10 µm or more.

In the integrally formed article of the invention, it is preferred that the second member is a member made of a thermoplastic resin composition.

The integrally formed article of the invention can be preferably used as a part, member or housing of an electric or electronic apparatus.

A method for producing a sandwich structure of the invention, for producing the sandwich structure of the invention, comprises the lamination step of disposing one each thermally adhesive substrate (m) formed of a thermoplastic resin on both surfaces of a core component (I) and laminating and disposing one each prepreg component obtained by impregnating a thermosetting resin as a matrix resin (B) into bundles of continuous reinforcing fibers (A), onto the thermally adhesive substrates (m), and the molding step of disposing a laminate obtained by the lamination step into a mold and letting heat and pressure act for molding, wherein the thermoplastic resin of the thermally adhesive substrates (m) is impregnated into the bundles of the reinforcing fibers during curing reaction of the thermosetting resin or during preheating before curing reaction in the molding step.

In the method for producing a sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that the step of disposing a thermally adhesive substrate (n) formed of a thermoplastic resin further on a surface of a laminate obtained by the lamination step is undergone; subsequently the laminate covered with the thermally adhesive substrate (n) is supplied to the molding step; and the thermoplastic resin of the thermally adhesive substrate (n) is impregnated into the bundles of the reinforcing fibers during the curing reaction of the thermosetting resin or during preheating before the curing reaction.

A method for producing an integrally formed article of the invention, for producing the integrally formed article of the invention, is characterized in that a sandwich structure (III) of the invention as a first member and another structural member as a second member are bonded to each other by at least one integration method selected from the group consisting of thermal welding, vibration welding, ultrasonic welding, laser welding, insert injection molding, and outsert injection molding.

Effects of the Invention

The sandwich structure of the invention has excellent mechanical properties, lightweight and thinness based on its characteristic structure. The method for producing the sandwich structure of the invention has excellent mass productivity, and the production can be performed very economically compared with the conventional production. The integrally formed article having the sandwich structure of the invention can be suitably used as a part, member or housing of an electric or electronic apparatus such as a notebook-type personal computer.

Brief Description of the Drawings

  • Fig. 1 is an exploded perspective view showing an example of the integrally formed article of the invention.
  • Fig. 2 is an exploded perspective view showing an example of the sandwich structure of the invention.
  • Fig. 3 is a sectional view showing a joint portion for explaining a bonded state between a core component and a fiber reinforced component in an example of the sandwich structure of the invention.
  • Fig. 4 is a plan view for explaining a structure of an example of a core component in another example of the sandwich structure of the invention.
  • Fig. 5 is a sectional view showing a joint portion for explaining a bonded state between a first member and a second member in an example of the integrally formed article of the invention.
  • Fig. 6 is a sectional view showing an observation result of a bonded state between a first member and a second member in an example of the integrally formed article of the invention.
  • Fig. 7 is a sectional view showing another observation result of a bonded state between a first member and a second member in an example of the integrally formed article of the invention.
  • Fig. 8 is a perspective view showing a specimen used for observing a bonded state between a first member and a second member in an example of the integrally formed article of the invention.
  • Fig. 9 is a perspective view showing a specimen used for measuring a bonded state between a core component and a fiber reinforced component in an example of the sandwich structure of the invention.
  • Fig. 10 is a perspective view showing a specimen used for measuring a bonded state between a first member and a second member in an example of the integrally formed article of the invention.
  • Fig. 11 is an SEM photograph showing a surface of a core component produced in an example corresponding to a typical view for explaining the structure of the core component shown in Fig. 4.
  • Fig. 12 is an SEM photograph showing a surface of a core component produced in another example corresponding to a typical view for explaining the structure of the core component shown in Fig. 4.

Meanings of Symbols

1
first member
2
second member
3
integrally formed article
4
boss portion
5
hinge portion
6
core component
7
fiber reinforced component
8
sandwich structure
11
core component
12
fiber reinforced component
13
joint interface
14
modified polyolefin resin layer
15, 15a
reinforcing fiber
16
matrix resin
17
boundary interface
18
impregnation length
19
outside line
20
maximum impregnation position
41
reinforcing fiber
42
crossing portion
43
thermoplastic resin
44
network structure
51
first member
52
second member
53
joint interface
54
adhesive layer
55, 55a
reinforcing fiber
56
top of the resin forming the adhesive layer
57
the largest thickness of the resin
58
the largest thickness of the adhesive layer
58a
outside line
59
matrix resin
61
first member
62
second member
63
adhesive layer
64
reinforcing fiber group
64a, 64b
reinforcing fiber
65
matrix resin
66
boundary interface
71
first member
72
second member
73
adhesive layer
74
matrix resin
75
reinforcing fiber group
75a, 75b
reinforcing fiber
76
boundary interface
77
void
81
second member
82
joint portion
83
remaining material
91
specimen
92
core component
93
fiber reinforced component
94a, 94b
notch
101
specimen
102
first member
103
second member

The Best Modes for Carrying Out the Invention

A sandwich structure of the invention and an integrally formed article comprising the sandwich structure are described below in reference to embodiments.

A first embodiment of the sandwich structure of the invention:

  • Fig. 1 is a perspective view showing an example of the integrally formed article of the invention in which an example of the sandwich structure of the invention is used as a first member. In Fig. 1, the integrally formed article 3 is illustrated in an exploded manner. The integrally formed article 3 of Fig. 1 is intended to show a housing of a notebook-type personal computer comprising a first member (top plate) 1 and a second member (frame) 2 having a boss portion 4 and a hinge portion 5.

Fig. 2 is a perspective view showing an example of the sandwich structure (III) of the invention. In Fig. 2, the sandwich structure 8 of the invention is illustrated in an exploded manner. In Fig. 2, the sandwich structure (III) 8 of the invention comprises a core component (I) 6 and fiber reinforced components (II) 7 each of which is disposed respectively on both surfaces of the core component (I) 6. Each of the fiber reinforced components (II) 7 is composed of continuous reinforcing fibers (A) and a matrix resin (B). The core component (I) 6 and the fiber reinforced components (II) 7 are bonded to each other to form the sandwich structure (III) 8.

For reducing the weight of the sandwich structure 8, the specific gravity of the core component 6 is selected in a range from 0.01 to 1.2. It is preferred that the specific gravity of the core component 6 is 0.1 to 0.8. A more preferred range is 0.1 to 0.5.

In order that the sandwich structure 8 can be satisfactory in both stiffness and lightweight, it is important that the specific gravity of the core component 6 is lower than that of the fiber reinforced components 7. If the specific gravity of the core component 6 is smaller, a higher lightweight effect can be obtained. If the specific gravity of the core component 6 is more than 1.2, the sandwich structure 8 may not have sufficient lightweight.

To make the sandwich structure 8 satisfactorily thinner, the thickness of the core component 6 is selected in a range from 0.1 to 1.5 mm. It is preferred that the thickness of the core component 6 is 0.1 to 1.0 mm. A more preferred range is 0.1 to 0.8 mm.

To satisfy the value of specific gravity, it is preferred that the core component 6 is formed of a foamed body. It is more preferred that cells existing in the foamed body are closed cells. It is preferred that the foamed body is a sheet.

One of the features of the sandwich structure 8 of the invention is that it is thin. In the case where the sandwich structure 8 is produced by an inexpensive molding method such as press molding, if the core component 6 is formed of a foamed body having closed cells, the strain during the pressurization for producing the sandwich structure 8 can be reduced. If the core component 6 is formed of a sheet of a foamed body, the thickness of the core component 6 can be kept uniform. These constitutions can enhance the productivity of the sandwich structure 8.

It is preferred that the material forming the core component 6 is a thermosetting resin selected from the group of the thermosetting resins enumerated later or a thermoplastic resin selected from the group of the thermoplastic resins enumerated later.

For accurately controlling the thickness of the core component 6 thinly, it is preferred that the core component 6 is made of a thermoplastic resin. Above all, a polyolefin resin can be preferably used in view of the lightweight as a foamed body, since the material per se is low in specific gravity.

In the case where a polyolefin resin is used, it is preferred that the process temperature for producing the sandwich structure 8 by molding is 160°C or lower. More preferred is 155°C or lower.

Further, in the case where a polyolefin resin is used, it is preferred that a modified polyolefin resin is disposed between a layer of the core component (I) and layers of the fiber reinforced components (II) for the purpose of enhancing the adhesion between the core component (I) 6 and the fiber reinforced components (skin members) (II) 7 disposed on both surfaces of the core component (I) 6. Especially it is further preferred that the modified polyolefin resin can be melted to flow at least at 160°C for obtaining the preferred bonding style between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II) described later. It is preferred that the melt viscosity in this case is 10 to 500 Pa·s. A more preferred range is 50 to 300 Pa.s. The method for measuring the melt viscosity is not especially limited, and a particular example of the measuring method is described later for the examples.

It is preferred in view of higher adhesion that the number of functional groups of the modified polyolefin resin due to modification is larger. The method for modifying the polyolefin resin is not especially limited, and a graft reaction of a functional group-containing compound, addition reaction to ends, copolymerization of a functional group-containing block, etc. can be exemplified. Above all, for increasing functional groups, a modification technique by a graft reaction of a functional group-containing compound having a double bond to an unsaturated polyolefin is more preferred.

Preferred examples of the functional groups are carboxyl groups, acid anhydride groups, hydroxyl groups, epoxy groups and amino groups. Meanwhile, the number of functional groups can be confirmed using an acid value, OH value, epoxy value, amine value or the like as an indicator. Among modified polyolefin resins, an acid-modified polyolefin resin is especially preferred in view of handling convenience and modification easiness.

The modified polyolefin resin can be used as a mixture with a non-modified polyolefin resin. In view of handling convenience, it is preferred that the mixed amount of the acid-modified polyolefin resin is 20 wt% or more. A more preferred range is 30 to 70 wt%. In this case, it is preferred that the acid value of the acid-modified polyolefin resin is 10 or more. More preferred is 20 or more, and especially preferred is 30 or more.

As a first embodiment of the sandwich structure of the invention, the adhesive strength between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II) of the sandwich structure measured according to ASTM D 3846 is 1 MPa or more. Preferred is 2 MPa or more, and more preferred is 3 MPa or more. Meanwhile, in this measurement, in the case where delamination does not occur between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II) and where the core component (I) is broken, the adhesive strength is judged to be higher than the breaking strength. If the adhesive strength is less than 1 MPa, delamination may occur between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II) when the sandwich structure (III) is processed, transported or integrated with the other member.

A preferred bonding style between the core component and the fiber reinforced components (II) is described in reference to Fig. 3. Fig. 3 is an expanded sectional view showing a portion of a joint interface formed when one of the fiber reinforced components (II) is bonded to one surface (top surface) of the core component (I) of the sandwich structure (III).

In Fig. 3, the fiber reinforced component (skin member) 12 is bonded to the top surface of the core component 11 by adhesion, to form a joint interface 13. The adhesion is achieved by a modified polyolefin resin layer 14 disposed between the layer of the core component 11 and the layer of the fiber reinforced component 12. The modified polyolefin resin forming the modified polyolefin resin layer 14 impregnates into the clearances formed among the numerous continuous reinforcing fibers (A) 15 located in the fiber reinforced component 12.

In the case where a thermosetting resin (for example, an epoxy resin) is used as the matrix resin (B) 16 used in the fiber reinforced component 12, the bonding style is preferred to be such that ruggedness is formed at the boundary interface 17 between the modified polyolefin resin layer 14 and the matrix resin 16, and that many reinforcing fibers 15a among the numerous continuous reinforcing fibers 15 are embedded in the adhesive layer formed as the modified polyolefin resin layer 14, in view of achieving a higher adhesive strength.

As for the impregnation state of the modified polyolefin resin of the modified polyolefin resin layer 14 into among the reinforcing fibers 15a, it is preferred in view of adhesive strength that the maximum impregnation length 18, i.e., the distance 18 between the outside line 19 of the reinforcing fibers 15a and the maximum impregnation position 20 is 10 µm or more. More preferred is 15 µm or more. The method for measuring the maximum impregnation length 18 is not especially limited, and the same methods as those for confirming the bond structure of the integrally formed article described later can be used. Particular methods are exemplified in the following examples.

A second embodiment of the sandwich structure of the invention:

  • Another embodiment different from the first embodiment for reducing the weight of the sandwich structure (III) 8 shown in Fig. 2 is described below. In this embodiment, the core component (I) 6 comprises numerous discontinuous reinforcing fibers and a thermoplastic resin. In the core component 6, a configuration (network structure) is formed by which the numerous reinforcing fibers are located to cross each other for forming a void structure, and the thermoplastic resin of the core component 6 is disposed at crossing portions where the reinforcing fibers cross each other.

Fig. 4 is a typical view for explaining an example of the network structure. In Fig. 4, at the crossing portions 42 of the reinforcing fibers 41, the thermoplastic resin 43 is deposited, and the reinforcing fibers 41 located at the crossing portions 42 are fastened to each other by the thermoplastic resin 43, to form the network structure 44. The fastening means a state where the thermoplastic resin 43 is deposited to simultaneously cover the surfaces of two or more reinforcing fibers 41 located at the crossing portion 42 formed with the two or more reinforcing fibers (filaments) 41.

In the case where the thermoplastic resin 43 is not disposed at the crossing portions 42 of the reinforcing fibers 41, when the core component 6 is assembled to form the sandwich structure 8, the pressure of press molding or the like may act to destroy the core component 6 per se, for impairing the thickness uniformity of the core component 6. The crossing portions 42 can be fastened, for example, by a method of heating and melting the thermoplastic resin for welding or a method of applying or spraying a thermoplastic resin solution and removing the solvent, etc. Above all, in view of process simplicity, the welding method can be preferably used.

Strengthening the network structure 44 is preferred in view of lightweight, since the core component 6 can be formed by using smaller amounts of the reinforcing fibers 41 and the thermoplastic resin 43. Therefore, in the core component (I), it is preferred that the crossing portions of the reinforcing fibers (A) deposited with the thermoplastic resin account for 50% or more of all the crossing portions. More preferred is 70% or more, and especially preferred is 90% or more. This rate can be confirmed by visually observing more than 100 crossing portions in the region selected at random from the core component (I) using a microscope.

For reducing the weight of the sandwich structure (III) 8 of the second embodiment, the specific gravity of the core component (I) 6 is selected in a range from 0.01 to 1.0. It is preferred that the specific gravity of the core component (I) 6 is 0.1 to 0.8, and a more preferred range is 0.1 to 0.5. Further, for satisfactorily thinning the sandwich structure (III) 8, the thickness of the core component (I) 6 is selected in a range from 0.1 to 1.5 mm. It is preferred that the thickness of the core component (1) 6 is 0.1 to 1.0 mm, and a more preferred range is 0.1 to 0.8. An especially preferred range is 0.1 to 0.5 mm. If the specific gravity of the core component (I) 6 is more than 1.0 and the thickness of the core component (I) 6 is more than 1.5 mm, then the intended lightweight and thinness of the sandwich structure may not be achieved.

As the discontinuous reinforcing fibers 41 used in the core component (I), reinforcing fibers of the type selected from the group of types of reinforcing fibers described later can be used. Especially in view of forming a strong network structure, it is preferred to use carbon fibers excellent in specific strength and specific stiffness. As required, organic fibers, natural fibers, basalt fibers, etc. can be mixed.

The fiber length of the discontinuous reinforcing fibers 41 is not especially limited, and those obtained by cutting continuous reinforcing fibers at a predetermined length can be used. It is preferred for the formation of the network structure that the aspect ratio (ratio of fiber length/fiber diameter) of the discontinuous reinforcing fibers 41 is larger, but such discontinuous reinforcing fibers are not suitable in view of handling convenience. So, generally, discontinuous reinforcing fibers having a fiber length of 2 to 50 mm can be preferably used. In view of processability, it is more preferred that the fiber length is 3 to 30 mm. It is preferred that the aspect ratio of the discontinuous reinforcing fibers 41 is 200 to 50, 000. A more preferred range is 400 to 20,000, and a further more preferred range is 700 to 10,000.

The network structure 44 in the core component (I) has a function of forming numerous voids in the core component (I). As a result, the weight of the core component (I) is reduced. It is preferred that the volume rate of the voids (void rate) is 20 to 80 vol% in view of the balance between lightweight and strength of the core component (I). A more preferred range is 25 to 70 vol%.

The void rate is calculated using the volume Vc (cm3) and weight Wc (g) of the core component, the weight Wf (g) and density pf (g/cm3) of the reinforcing fibers forming the core component, and the weight Wp (g) and density &rgr;p (g/cm3) of the thermoplastic resin, from the following formula:

Void rate = 1 - Vf + Vp / Vc × 100

where the volume of the reinforcing fibers, Vf = Wf/pf, and the volume of the thermoplastic resin, Vp = Wp/pp.

The weight percentage of the reinforcing fibers 41 used in the core component (I) is not especially limited. However, it is preferred that the weight percentage of the reinforcing fibers 41 is 10 to 80 wt%, and a more preferred range is 30 to 60 wt%.

As the thermoplastic resin 43 used in the core component (I), a thermoplastic resin selected from the group of thermoplastic resins enumerated later can be used. Especially in the case where the sandwich structure (III) is produced by press molding, it is preferred in view of the thickness uniformity achieved by heating and pressurization that the melting point or load deflection temperature of the thermoplastic resin 43 is 160°C or higher. More preferred is 180°C or higher. An especially preferred thermoplastic resin 43 is a polyamide resin.

Further, for the purpose of protecting the void structure of the core component (I), it is preferred that the sandwich structure (III) of the invention has one each thermoplastic resin layer disposed between the layer of the core component (I) and the layers of the fiber reinforced components (II). Furthermore, for the purpose of preventing that the matrix resin (B) used in the fiber reinforced components (II) flows into the void structure of the core component (I), it is more preferred that the thermoplastic resin layers are formed as layers continuous in the face direction.

In the second embodiment of the sandwich structure (III) of the invention, as in the first embodiment, for the purpose of enhancing the adhesion between the core member (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II), it is preferred that the melting point or load deflection temperature of the thermoplastic resin constituting the thermoplastic resin layers is 160°C or lower. More preferred is 150°C or lower.

In the second embodiment of the sandwich structure (III) of the invention, as in the first embodiment, it is preferred that the adhesive strength between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II) of the sandwich structure (III) measured according to ASTM D 3846 is 1 MPa or more. More preferred is 2 MPa or more.

A more preferred bonding style between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II) in the second embodiment of the sandwich structure (III) of the invention is, as in the first embodiment, a structure in which the thermoplastic resin forming the thermoplastic resin layers between the layer of the core component (I) and the layers of the fiber reinforced components (II) is impregnated into the clearances formed among numerous reinforcing fibers used in the fiber reinforced components (II). It is preferred that the maximum impregnation length of the thermoplastic resin is 10 µm or more. More preferred is 15 µm or more. In this case, the thermoplastic resin may impregnate also into the network structure to such an extent that the void structure of the core component (I) is not impaired.

In the first and second embodiments of the sandwich structure (III) of the invention, the fiber reinforced components (II) forming the skin portions of the sandwich structure (III) comprise continuous reinforcing fibers (A) and a matrix resin (B). The continuous reinforcing fibers mean numerous filaments continuous for a length of 10 mm or more at least in one direction. It is not necessary that all the filaments are continuous in the overall widths of the fiber reinforced components (II), and some filaments may also be cut halfway.

As the reinforcing fibers (A) used in the fiber reinforced components (II), reinforcing fibers of the type selected from the group of types of reinforcing fibers described later. Above all, it is preferred in view of the mechanical properties of the sandwich structure (III) to use carbon fibers excellent in specific gravity and specific stiffness. Examples of the mode of the reinforcing fibers (A) include filament bundles respectively comprising numerous filaments, cloth composed of the filament bundles, unidirectional filament bundles in which numerous filaments are arranged in one direction, and unidirectional cloth composed of the unidirectional filament bundles. Especially in view of mechanical properties, design and productivity, cloth or unidirectional filament bundles are preferred. The reinforcing fibers (A) may be composed of plural filament bundles of the same mode or may be composed of plural filament bundles of different modes.

A group of types of the reinforcing fibers (A) used in the sandwich structure (III) of the invention is enumerated below: metallic fibers such as aluminum fibers, brass fibers and stainless fibers, glass fibers, carbon fibers such as polyacrylonitrile carbon fibers, rayon carbon fibers, lignin carbon fibers and pitch carbon fibers, graphite fibers, organic fibers such as aromatic polyamide fibers, polyaramide fibers, PBO fibers, polyphenylene sulfide fibers, polyester fibers, acrylic fibers, nylon fibers and polyethylene fibers, silicon carbide fibers, silicon nitride fibers, alumina fibers, boron fibers, etc. Any one type of these fibers can be used or two or more types of these fibers can also be used together. These materials of fibers can also be treated on the surfaces. Examples of the surface treatment include metal covering treatment, treatment using a coupling agent, treatment using a sizing agent, additive deposition treatment, etc.

As the matrix resin (B) of the fiber reinforced components (II), a thermosetting resin selected from the group of thermosetting resins enumerated later or a thermoplastic resin selected the group of thermoplastic resins enumerated later can be used. Especially in view of such properties as stiffness, strength and heat resistance of the sandwich structure (III) and the handling convenience of the prepreg used as a material to be molded, it is preferred to use a thermosetting resin. Among them, an epoxy resin is more preferred. Further, it is preferred to mix a flame retarder with the matrix resin (B), since the flame retardancy needed for application to electric and electronic apparatuses can be imparted.

A group of thermosetting resins used in the sandwich structure (III) of the invention is enumerated below. Unsaturated polyester resins, vinyl ester resins, epoxy resins, phenol (resol type) resins, urea melamine resins, polyimide resins, etc. can be preferably used. Their copolymers, modification products, and/or blend resins consisting of two or more of the foregoing can also be used. Among them, an epoxy resin is especially preferred in view of the mechanical properties and heat resistance of the formed article. It is preferred that an epoxy resin is contained as a main component of the resin used, for exhibiting its excellent mechanical properties. It is particularly preferred that the resin composition used contains 60 wt% or more of an epoxy resin.

A group of thermoplastic resins used in the sandwich structure (III) of the invention is enumerated below: polyester resins such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) resin, polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT) resin, polyethylene naphthalate (PENp) resin and liquid crystal polyesters, polyolefin resins such as polyethylene (PE) resin, polypropylene (PP) resin and polybutylene resin, styrene resins, urethane resins, polyoxymethylene (POM) resins, polyamide (PA) resins, polycarbonate (PC) resins, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) resin, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin, polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) resin, polyphenylene ether (PPE) resins, modified PPE resins, polyimide (PI) resins, polyamideimide (PAI) resins, polyetherimide (PEI) resins, polysulfone (PSU) resins, modified PSU resins, polyethersulfone (PES) resins, polyketone (PK) resins, polyetherketone (PEK) resins, polyetheretherketone (PEEK) resins, polyetherketoneketone(PEKK) resins, polyallylate (PAR) resins, polyethernitrile (PEN) resins, phenol resins, phenoxy resins, fluorine resins such as polytetrafluoroethylene, their copolymers, modification products, blend resins consisting of two or more of the foregoing, etc. Above all, in view of heat resistance and chemicals resistance, PPS resin can be more preferably used. In view of the appearance and dimensional stability of the formed article, polycarbonate resins and styrene resins can be more preferably used. In view of the strength and impact resistance of the formed article, polyamide resins can be more preferably used.

Any one of the thermosetting resins and the thermoplastic resins enumerated in the above groups can contain an impact resistance improving agent, filler and other additives used as ingredients of elastomers and rubbers to such an extent that the object of the invention is not impaired. Examples of them include an inorganic filler, flame retarder, conductivity additive, crystal nucleating agent, ultraviolet light absorber, antioxidant, damping material, antimicrobial agent, insecticide, deodorant, coloration preventive, thermal stabilizer, releasing agent, antistatic agent, plasticizer, slip agent, colorant, pigment, dye, foaming agent, foam stabilizer and coupling agent.

It is preferred in view of applicability to the intended use of the invention that the thickness of the sandwich structure (III) of the invention is 0.2 to 4 mm as substantial thickness. A more preferred range is 0.2 to 2 mm, and an especially preferred range is 0.2 to 1 mm. The substantial thickness means the thickness representing the sandwich structure (III), and means the thickness of the region occupying at least 40% of the projected area of the sandwich structure, not including intentionally added portions such as rib portions, projected portions, depressed portions and protruded portions. In the case where the sandwich structure (III) has gentle ups and downs, the thickness of the portion occupying the maximum area should be employed as the substantial thickness, and in the case where there are two or more substantial thicknesses, the largest thickness should be employed as the substantial thickness.

In the sandwich structure (III) of the invention, it is preferred that the bending modulus of elasticity of the flat portion having the substantial thickness based on ISO 178 is 20 GPa or more. More preferred is 25 GPa or more.

The integrally formed article of the invention can be used as a material constituting a part of an electric or electronic apparatus, office automation apparatus, household electric appliance, medical appliance, automobile, building or the like. Considering these applications, it is preferred that the sandwich structure (III) has a bending modulus of elasticity of 20 GPa or more. If the bending modulus of elasticity is in this range, the integrally formed article can be made thinner. A particular method for measuring the bending modulus of elasticity of the sandwich structure (III) is described later for the examples.

As shown in Fig. 1, the integrally formed article 3 of the invention comprises the sandwich structure (III) as a first member 1 and a second member 2 bonded to the first member 1. For the purpose of obtaining an integrally formed article 3 satisfactory in both complicated shape and mass productivity, the sandwich structure (III) as the first member 1 has a planar form, and the second member 2 has its shape changed in the thickness direction. A planar form means that the majority portion of the projected area of the integrally formed article 3 has a flat form or a gently curved form, as typically shown in Fig. 1. For example, it may have a curved surface with a radius of curvature of within 1000 m. Plural such curved surfaces may be contained intermittently in one surface of the integrally formed article 3. Each surface of the integrally formed article 3 may also contain a contraction of area with a radius of curvature of 5 mm or more. A planar form may also be a generally three-dimensional form containing these complicated face forms.

On the other hand, the second member 2 is integrated with the first member 1, for the purpose of letting the integrally formed article 3 have a complicated shape. A complicated shape means a shape in which the thickness changes in the respective directions of length, width and height and includes structural mechanism portions, geometrical design form portions and intentionally formed protrusions, depressions, etc. They correspond to the frame portion, erected wall portion, hinge portion, boss rib portion, etc. as typically shown in the second member 2 of Fig. 1. It is preferred that the second member 2 is produced by a method relatively more excellent in mass productivity than that of the first member 1.

The material of the second member 2 is not especially limited. Preferably used is a publicly known material such as a thermosetting resin selected from the group of thermosetting resins enumerated before, a thermoplastic resin selected from the group of thermoplastic resins enumerated before, cement, concrete, any of these materials reinforced by fibers, wood, metallic material, or paper material. In view of moldability, a thermoplastic resin can be preferably used. For the purpose of enhancing mechanical properties, a fiber reinforced thermoplastic resin can be preferably used. For the purpose of further enhancing the mechanical properties of a formed article, though undesirable in view of lightweight, a metallic material can be preferably used. Especially preferred is a thermoplastic resin composition in which discontinuous reinforcing fibers are homogeneously dispersed in a thermoplastic resin, since all of mass productivity, moldability, light weight and mechanical properties can be satisfied. In this case, in view of the balance among moldability, strength and lightweight, it is preferred that if the reinforcing fibers are carbon fibers, the mixing rate of the reinforcing fibers is 5 to 75 wt% based on the weight of the thermoplastic resin composition. A more preferred range is 15 to 65 wt%.

In the invention, it is preferred that the first member 1 is a main member of the integrally formed article 3. It is preferred that the first member 1 occupies 50% or more of the projected area of the integrally formed article 3. It is more preferred that the first member 1 occupies 70% or more of the projected area.

In the integrally formed article 3 of the invention, when the first member 1 and the second member 2 are bonded to each other for integration, it is preferred that excellent adhesion exists between the members. Therefore, it is preferred that an adhesive layer intervenes at the joint interface between the first member 1 and the second member 2. As the adhesive layer, a well-known adhesive such as an acrylic adhesive, epoxy adhesive, styrene adhesive or the like can be used to form an adhesive layer independent of the first member and the second member. Further, for enhancing the productivity of integration, it is preferred to form a thermoplastic resin layer as the outermost layer of the first member.

Especially in the case where a thermosetting resin (for example, an epoxy resin) is used as the matrix resin (B) of the first member 1 and where a thermoplastic resin composition is applied as the second member 2, if a thermoplastic resin layer having good affinity to the thermoplastic resin composition constituting the second member 2 is formed as the outermost layer of the first member 1, the thermoplastic resins used at the joint interface between the first member 1 and the second member 2 can be thermally welded to each other. In this case, it is not necessary to form another adhesive layer at the joint interface.

If the adhesive layer formed as the outermost layer of the first member 1 is formed of the same material as that of the thermoplastic resin of the second member 2, the bonding strength can also be enhanced. The resin formed as the outermost layer of the first member 1 is not especially limited if it is compatible with, even not the same as, the thermoplastic resin constituting the second member 2, but it is preferred to select a resin most suitable for the thermoplastic resin constituting the second member 2.

In the fiber reinforced component (II) forming the surface to be bonded of the first member 1, in the case where a thermosetting resin (for example, an epoxy resin) is used as the matrix resin (B), it is preferred that the thermoplastic resin of the adhesive layer has a rugged form at the interface with the matrix resin (B), when it is bonded to the reinforced fiber component. Especially in the case where the bonding style is such that many reinforcing fibers among the continuous reinforcing fibers (A) are embedded in the adhesive layer formed of the thermoplastic resin, excellent adhesive strength can be obtained.

Fig. 5 is a sectional view showing the joint portion between the first member and the second member in the integrally formed article of the invention, for explaining an example of the bonding state between both the members. In Fig. 5, the sandwich structure (III) of the invention as a first member 51 and a second member 52 are bonded to each other at the joint interface 53. At the joint interface 53, there is an adhesive layer 54 formed of a resin. The resin forming the adhesive layer 54 penetrates into the clearances among the many reinforcing fibers 55a located near the joint interface 53 out of the numerous reinforcing fibers 55 of the first member 51. The first member 51 comprises the numerous reinforcing fibers 55 and a matrix resin 59.

The top portion 56 of the penetrating resin forming the adhesive layer 54 has a rugged form. It is preferred that the largest thickness 57 of the penetrating resin is 0.01 to 1,000 µm. A more preferred range is 0.1 to 200 µm, and a further more preferred range is 1 to 100 µm. The largest thickness 58 of the adhesive layer 54 containing the reinforcing fibers 55a refers to the distance in reference to the outside line 58a of the outermost (on the second member side) reinforcing fibers in contact with the resin of the adhesive layer 54. In view of adhesive strength, it is preferred that the largest thickness 58 is 1 to 80 µm.

The joint structure of the joint portion between the first member 1 or 51 and the second member 2 or 52 in the integrally formed article of the invention can be verified, for example, by the testing methods described below.

First testing method:

A section of the surface layer portion of the joint portion is observed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) or transmission electron microscope (TEM). The observation of the section can be performed as required based on a photograph of the section. The specimen to be observed is a thin section prepared using a surface layer portion cut out of the member. When the section is prepared, it can happen that some reinforcing fibers of the reinforcing fiber group come off, but there is no problem, if they come off to such an extent that the observation is not affected. The specimen can also be stained as required for adjusting the contrast of observation.

The reinforcing fibers constituting the reinforcing fiber group observed are usually circular in sectional form. If a reinforcing fiber comes off, the remaining circular mark can be usually observed. In the portion other than the portion where the reinforcing fibers constituting the reinforcing fiber group are located, the matrix resin (B) layer and the thermoplastic resin layer can be observed as two regions different in contrast.

An example of the observation result by this first method is shown in Fig. 6. Fig. 6 shows an expanded section of the joint portion of an integrally formed article comprising a first member 61 and a second member 62. The drawing shows a state where the thermoplastic resin of the adhesive layer 63 penetrates into the clearances formed among the many reinforcing fibers 64a and 64b existing among the reinforcing fiber group 64 and also shows a state where the boundary interface 66 between the layer of the matrix resin (B) 65 and the adhesive layer 63 has a rugged form.

Second testing method:

A section in which the adhesive layer formed of a thermoplastic resin in the surface layer portion at the joint portion is extracted and removed by a solvent is observed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) or transmission electron microscope (TEM) . The observation of the section can be performed as required based on a photograph of the section. An about 10 mm long and about 10 mm wide specimen is obtained by cutting the member. The adhesive layer is sufficiently washed with a good solvent of the thermoplastic resin constituting the adhesive layer, to remove the thermoplastic resin, for preparing a specimen for observation. The section of the prepared specimen is observed using an SEM (or TEM).

An example of the observation result by this second method is shown in Fig. 7. Fig. 7 is an expanded sectional view showing the joint interface of an integrally formed article comprising a first member 71 and a second member 72, from which the second member 72 and the adhesive layer 73 formed of a thermoplastic resin are removed. In Fig. 7, the matrix resin (B) 74 exists and contains the reinforcing fibers 75a existing among the reinforcing fiber group 75, but the thermoplastic resin layer (adhesive layer) 73 that had a rugged boundary interface 76 with the matrix resin (B) 74 does not exist, since it was removed by the solvent when the specimen was prepared. The rugged form of the boundary interface 76 can be observed, and the reinforcing fibers 75b existing among the reinforcing fiber group 75 can be observed in the location where the adhesive layer 73 used to exist. Among these reinforcing fibers, voids 77 can be observed. This proves that the reinforcing fibers 75b existing among the reinforcing fiber group 75 were embedded in the adhesive layer formed of the thermoplastic resin.

When the joint portion between the members is observed in an integrally formed article according to the first or second testing method, the joint portion can be treated, for example, by a method in which the joint portion is heated up to a temperature capable of plasticizing the thermoplastic resin of the adhesive layer, for being separated, or by a method in which the second member is mechanically removed.

Third testing method:

In an integrally formed article, one member is forcibly separated from the other member, to observe the separated state. In this testing method, the integrally formed article is forcibly separated at room temperature in such a manner as to destroy between the first member and the second member. The surface layer of the first member may partially remain to adhere to the separated second member. This remaining material is observed using a microscope.

An example showing the state of the specimen obtained by carrying out this third test method is shown in Fig. 8. In Fig. 8, the second member 81 shows a joint portion 82 to which the surface of the first member was bonded. Somewhere on the joint portion 82, it can be observed that the surface layer portion of the first member partially remains as a remaining material 83. It can be observed that plural reinforcing fibers coming off from the reinforcing fiber group located in the surface layer of the first member exist in the remaining material 83.

The bonding style of the integrally formed article of the invention can be verified by at least any one of the above-mentioned testing methods.

The method for producing the sandwich structure (III) of the invention is not especially limited. One method comprises the steps of disposing one each intermediate material (prepreg) comprising continuous reinforcing fibers (A) impregnated with a matrix resin (B) on both surfaces of a core component (I) and integrally molding them. Another method comprises the steps of injecting a liquid resin into an intermediate material (preform) comprising continuous reinforcing fibers (A) and a core component (I) and integrally molding them. A further other method comprises the steps of pre-molding fiber reinforced components (II) and a core component (I) and subsequently bonding them. As the method for producing the sandwich structure (III) of the invention, in view of productivity and precise thickness control of the sandwich structure (III), preferably used is a method comprising the step of heating and pressing a laminate comprising a prepreg and a core component (I) at a temperature not higher than the melting point of the core component (I) for integral molding. A production method more preferred in view of the adhesion and thickness uniformity of the sandwich structure is described below.

A method for producing a sandwich structure of the invention, comprises the lamination step of disposing one each thermally adhesive substrate (m) formed of a thermoplastic resin on both surfaces of the core component (I) and laminating and disposing one each prepreg component obtained by impregnating a thermosetting resin as a matrix resin (B) into bundles of continuous reinforcing fibers (A), onto the thermally adhesive substrates (m), and the molding step of disposing a laminate obtained by the lamination step into a mold and letting heat and pressure act for molding, wherein the thermoplastic resin of the thermally adhesive substrates (m) is impregnated into the bundles of the reinforcing fibers during curing reaction of the thermosetting resin or during preheating before curing reaction in the molding step.

In the molding step, it is preferred that the process temperature is not higher than the melting point or load deflection temperature of the thermoplastic resin used in the core component (I).

A production method especially preferred in view of integrating the sandwich structure at high productivity is described below.

In the method for producing a sandwich structure of the invention, it is preferred that the step of disposing a thermally adhesive substrate (n) formed of a thermoplastic resin further on a surface of a laminate obtained by the lamination step is undergone; subsequently the laminate covered with the thermally adhesive substrate (n) is supplied to the molding step; and the thermoplastic resin of the thermally adhesive substrate (n) is impregnated into the bundles of the reinforcing fibers during the curing reaction of the thermosetting resin or during preheating before the curing reaction.

In the molding step, it is preferred to preheat the mold, since productivity can be further enhanced.

The integrating method used for producing the integrally formed article of the invention is not especially limited either. For example, there are a method of using an adhesive for integration and a method of using bolts and screws for integration. For integrating with a thermoplastic member, thermal welding, vibration welding, ultrasonic welding, laser welding, insert injection molding, outsert injection molding, etc. can be preferably used. In view of molding cycle, outsert molding and insert molding can be preferably used.

The sandwich structure and the integrally formed article using the sandwich structure, respectively of the invention, can be used, for example, for the following applications: parts, members and housings of electric and electronic apparatuses such as various gears, various cases, sensors, LED lamps, connectors, sockets, resistors, relay cases, switches, coil bobbins, capacitors, optical pickups, vibrators, various terminal boards, transformers, plugs, printed wiring boards, tuners, speakers, microphones, headphones, small motors, magnetic head bases, power modules, semiconductors, displays, FDD carriages, chassis, HDD, MO, motor brush holders, parabola antennas, notebook-type personal computers, cell phones, digital still cameras, PDA, portable MD and plasma displays, parts, members and housings of household and office products such as telephone sets, facsimiles, VTRs, copiers, television sets, irons, hair dryers, rice cookers, electronic ovens, acoustic apparatuses, cleaners, toiletries, laser discs, compact discs, lightings, refrigerators, air conditioners, typewriters and word processors, parts, members and housings of game and amusement products such as pinball machines, slot machines and game machines, parts, members and housings of optical apparatuses and precision machines such as microscopes, binoculars, cameras and time pieces, medical appliances such as X-ray cassettes, parts, members and outside plates of motor vehicles and two-wheelers such as motor parts, alternator terminals, alternator connectors, IC regulators, potentiometer bases, suspension parts, various valves such as exhaust gas valves, various pipes for fuel, exhaust gas and suction, air intake nozzle snorkels, intake manifolds, various arms, various frames, various hinges, various bearings, fuel pumps, gasoline tanks, CNG tanks, engine cooling water joints, carburetor main bodies, carburetor spacers, exhaust gas sensors, cooling water sensors, oil temperature sensors, brake pad wear sensors, throttle position sensors, crankshaft position sensors, air flow meters, air conditioner thermostat bases, room heating hot air flow control valves, radiator motor brush holders, water pump impellers, turbine vanes, wiper motor parts, distributors, starter switches, starter relays, transmission wire harnesses, window washer nozzles, air conditioner panel switch boards, fuel electromagnetic valve coils, fuse connectors, battery trays, AT brackets, head lamp supports, pedal housings, steering wheels, door beams, protectors, chassis, frames, armrests, horn terminals, step motor rotors, lamp sockets, lamp reflectors, lamp housings, brake pistons, noise shields, radiator supports, spare tire covers, seat shells, solenoid bobbins, engine oil filters, ignition device cases, under covers, scuff plates, pillar trims, propeller shafts, wheels, fenders, fascias, bumpers, bumper beams, bonnets, aero parts, platforms, cowl louvers, roofs, instrument panels, spoilers and various modules, parts, members and outside plates of aircraft such as landing gear pods, winglets, spoilers, edges, rudders, elevators, fairings and ribs, parts and members of sports goods such as various rackets, golf club shafts, yachts, boards, skiing articles, fishing rods and bicycles, parts of artificial satellites, architectural materials such as panels, etc.

Among the above applications, the products of the invention can be preferably used for electric and electronic apparatuses and office automation apparatuses such as personal computers, displays, cell phones and portable information terminals, household electric appliances and medical appliances. Especially among the above applications, it is preferred that the sandwich structure of the invention is used at a top face portion (top plate) of a housing, a surface of which has a wide range of flat portion, since it can exhibit such features as thinness, lightweight and high stiffness sufficiently.

The invention is described below more particularly based on examples. In the following examples, all the mixing rates (%) are values based on wt%, unless otherwise stated.

The object evaluation methods used in the examples are as follows.

  1. (1) Bending modulus of elasticity of a sandwich structure "Instron" (registered trademark) 5565 Universal Testing Machine (produced by Instron Japan Co., Ltd.) was used to measure the bending modulus of elasticity at a testing speed of 1.27 mm/min based on ISO 178.

Four types of specimens different in angle (0 degrees, 45 degrees, 90 degrees and 135 degrees in reference to the longitudinal direction of the sandwich structure) were cut out of the flat portion of the sandwich structure. Five specimens were prepared for each type. The average value of the bending modulus values of four types of specimens different in angle was employed as the bending modulus of elasticity of the sandwich structure.

  • (2) Adhesive strength between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II) of a sandwich structure "Instron" (registered trademark) 5565 Universal Testing Machine (produced by Instron Japan Co., Ltd.) was used to measure the adhesive strength at a testing speed of 1.27 mm/min based on ASTM D 3846.

Fig. 9 shows the form and dimensions (in mm) of a specimen 91. The specimen 91 has a core component (I) 92 and fiber reinforced components (II) 93 bonded on both surfaces of the core component (I) 92, and has notches 94a and 94b as shown in the drawing. Meanwhile, in the case where a specimen of the specified size cannot be cut out of the sandwich structure, a smaller-sized specimen proportional in shape to the specimen shown in Fig. 9 can be used as a substitute. The adhesive strength (in MPa) can be calculated from the following formula: Adhesive strength Mpa = Breaking load N / Overlap area mm 2 Overlap area ( mm 2 ) = Width mm × Overlap length mm

  • (3) Adhesive strength of an integrally formed article "Instron" (registered trademark) 5565 Universal Testing Machine (produced by Instron Japan Co., Ltd.) was used to measure the adhesive strength at a testing speed of 1.27 mm/min based on ISO 4587.

Fig. 10 shows the form and dimensions (in mm) of a specimen 101. The specimen 101 has a first member 102 and a second member 103 bonded to the underside of the first member. Meanwhile, in the case where a specimen of the specified size cannot be cut out of the integrally formed article, a small-sized specimen proportional in shape to the specimen of Fig. 10 can be used as a substitute. The adhesive strength (in MPa) can be calculated from the following formula:

Adhesive strength (MPa) = Breaking load (N)/Overlap area (mm2) Overlap area ( mm 2 ) = Width mm × Overlap length mm

Meanwhile, the following simpler method can be employed. A specimen including the joint portion between the first member and the second member is cut out of the integrally formed article, and the first member is fixed by one clamp while the second member is fixed by the other clamp. Then, a tensile test is performed by pulling in parallel to the joint interface, and the obtained strength is divided by the adhesion area, to employ the quotient as a substitute value.

Examples of preparing the materials used in the following examples of the invention are described below.

Reference Example 1-1

Pellets of a polyamide resin (CM8000 quaternary copolyamide 6/66/610/12, melting point 130°C, produced by Toray Industries, Inc.) were processed into a film (F-1) having a size of 350 x 350 mm and a unit weight of 50 g/m2. Reference Example 1-2

Pellets obtained by melt-kneading 30 wt% of an acid modified polypropylene resin (YUMEX 1010, acid value about 52, melting point 142°C, produced by Sanyo Chemical Industries, Ltd.) and 70 wt% of polypropylene resin (J229E, melting point 155°C, produced by Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.) at 200°C using a double-screw extruder (TEX-30&agr;) produced by The Japan Steel Works, Ltd., were processed into a film (F-2) having a size of 350 x 350 mm and a unit weight of 30 g/m2.

Meanwhile, the pellets were preheated at 160°C for 8 minutes and their melt viscosity was measured at a load of 10 kgf using capillary rheometer CFT-500D produced by Shimadzu Corporation and found to be 185 Pa.s.

Example 1

From a prepreg in which a group of unidirectionally arranged carbon fibers was impregnated with an epoxy resin (thermosetting resin) ("Torayca (registered trademark)" Prepreg P3052S-12 produced by Toray Industries, Inc. and "Torayca (registered trademark)" T700S were used, carbon fiber content 67 wt%, fiber weight 125 g/m2), four prepreg sheets having a size of 350 x 350 mm were cut out to have a predetermined form. These sheets were used to obtain a laminate comprising 0 degrees/90 degrees/film (F-2)/core component/film (F-2)/90 degrees/0 degrees/film (F-1) in reference to the fiber direction. As the core component, "EFCELL (registered trademark)" RC2010 (closed cell polypropylene foam, thickness 1 mm, specific gravity 0.48) produced by Showa Denko K.K. was used.

Then, as a releasing film, one each "Tedlar (registered trademark) " film produced by Du-Pont Toray Co., Ltd. was disposed at the top and bottom of the laminate, and the laminate was set on a SUS flat plate for press molding and heated at 150°C for 10 minutes and subsequently at 130°C for 20 minutes at a face pressure of 1 MPa for curing the epoxy resin. After completion of curing, the laminate was cooled at room temperature, and then the releasing films were removed to obtain a formed sandwich board. From the sandwich board, a top plate 1 having a size of 300 x 280 mm was cut out with the fiber direction as the longitudinal direction of the top plate, for use as a sandwich structure (III).

The sandwich structure (III) 8 had a thickness of 1.4 mm, and having been affected by the heating and pressurization during molding, the core component (I) 6 was thinned to 0.8 mm. The bending modulus of elasticity was 35 GPa. The adhesive strength between the core component (I) 6 and the fiber reinforced components (II) 7 was measured. The interfacial delamination did not occur, and at a tensile force of 3 MPa, the core component (I) 6 was broken. The joint portion between the core component (I) 6 and the fiber reinforced components (II) 7 of the sandwich structure (III) 8 was cut out and its section was observed using an optical microscope. As shown in Fig. 3, the thermoplastic resin constituting the films (F-2) was observed as regions different in contrast in the fiber reinforced components. The regions of the modified polyolefin resin layers impregnated into the thickness direction of the reinforcing fiber bundles, and it was found that the maximum impregnation length 18 was 20 µm.

The obtained sandwich structure (III) 8 was inserted into a mold for injection molding, and long fiber pellets (TLP1146S, carbon fiber content 20 wt%, polyamide resin matrix, produced by Toray Industries, Inc.) were used to perform outsert injection molding to form a second member 2 as a frame having a boss rib portion 4 and a hinge portion 5 around the outer circumference of the sandwich structure (III) 8. For the injection molding, J350EIII injection molding machine produced by The Japan Steel Works, Ltd. was used and the cylinder temperature was set at 280°C. The obtained integrally formed article 3 had both the members bonded to each other having an overlap length of about 5 mm at least in the portion with the film (F-1) disposed, being strongly integrated.

The obtained integrally formed article had a weight of 144 g and was confirmed to be integrally formed as a housing excellent in lightweight and stiffness. When the adhesive strength of the integrally formed article was measured, the interfacial delamination did not occur, and at a tensile force of 10 MPa, the frame member was broken. From the integrally formed article, the joint portion between the corresponding fiber reinforced component (II) of the sandwich structure and the frame member was cut out and dissolved in formic acid for 12 hours, to remove the thermoplastic resin portion, for preparing a specimen for section observation. The specimen was observed with a scanning electron microscope (SEM), and as shown in Fig. 5, a state in which the carbon fiber group was exposed was observed. Further, a double layer structure having a carbon fiber group having voids in the joint interface direction and a carbon fiber group not having voids in the opposite direction was observed, and it was confirmed that the boundary interface between the matrix resin reinforced by the continuous reinforcing fiber group and the adhesive layer formed of a thermoplastic resin had a rugged form. The void portion of the carbon fiber group is the region where the thermoplastic resin layer having the reinforcing fibers embedded in it existed. From its thickness, the maximum impregnation thickness 57 was judged to be 40 µm.

Example 2

The "EFCELL" RC2010 was cut out to have a constant thickness of 0.8 mm, and it was used as the core component (I). The sandwich structure (III) was formed by curing the epoxy resin at 130°C and at a face pressure of 1 MPa for 30 minutes. By the same methods as in Example 1, the sandwich structure (III) and an integrally formed article were produced.

The sandwich structure as a top plate had a thickness of 1. 3 mm and a bending modulus of elasticity of 35 GPa. The adhesive strength between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II) was 2 MPa, and their joint interfaces were confirmed to have the same impregnation structure as in Example 1. The maximum impregnation length 18 was 15 µm.

The obtained integrally formed article had a weight of 136 g, and was confirmed to be integrally formed as a housing excellent in lightweight and stiffness. When the adhesive strength of the integrally formed article was measured, the interfacial delamination did not occur, and at a tensile force of 10 MPa, the frame member was broken. The maximum impregnation thickness 57 was 30 µm.

Example 3

A sandwich structure (III) was produced according to the same method as in Example 2, except that the film (F-1) was not used.

Separately long fiber pellets (TLP1146S, carbon fiber content 20 wt%, polyamide resin matrix, produced by Toray Industries, Inc.) were injection-molded to obtain a second member 2 as a frame having a boss rib portion 4 and a hinge portion 5.

The sandwich structure (III) and the second member respectively obtained were washed by alcohol on their joint faces and were bonded to each other using two-pack type adhesive 3921/3926 produced by Three Bond Co., Ltd., to produce an integrally formed article 3. After completion of bonding, the article was allowed to stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

The obtained integrally formed article had a weight of 139 g and was conformed to be integrally formed as a housing excellent in lightweight and stiffness. Further, the adhesive strength of the integrally formed article was 7 MPa.

Example 4

From a prepreg in which carbon fiber cloth was impregnated with an epoxy resin (thermosetting resin) ("Torayca (registered trademark)" Prepreg F6142-05 produced by Toray Industries, Inc. and Torayca T300 produced by Toray Industries, Inc. were used, carbon fiber content 60 wt%, fiber weight 119 g/m2), two prepreg sheets having a size of 350 x 350 mm were cut out to have a predetermined form. These sheets were used to obtain a laminate comprising (0 degrees/90 degrees)/film (F-2)/core component/film (F-2) / (0 degrees/90 degrees) in reference to the fiber direction, and the laminate was used to produce a sandwich structure (III) according to the same method as in Example 1.

The sandwich structure (III) as a top plate had a thickness of 1.2 mm and a bending modulus of elasticity of 32 GPa. When the adhesive strength between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II) was measured, the interfacial delamination did not occur, and at a tensile force of 3 MPa, the core component was broken.

At their joint interfaces, the same impregnation structure as in Example 1 was confirmed, and the maximum impregnation length 18 was 20 µm. According to the same method as in Example 3, a second member 2 was produced by injection molding, and an integrally formed article 3 having the sandwich structure (III) was produced.

The obtained integrally formed article had a weight of 113 g, and was confirmed to be integrally formed as a housing very excellent in lightweight and good in stiffness.

Example 5

An integrally formed article 3 was produced according to the same method as in Example 1, except that "Ohfan (registered trademark) " P23 (polypropylene sheet, thickness 0.3 mm, specific gravity 0.91) produced by Osaka Jushi Kako K.K. was used as the core component.

The sandwich structure as a top plate had a thickness of 0.8 mm and a bending modulus of elasticity of 38 GPa. When the adhesive strength between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II) was measured, the interfacial delamination did not occurred, and at a tensile force of 6 MPa, the core component (I) was broken. At their joint interfaces, the same impregnation structure as in Example 1 was confirmed, and the maximum impregnation length 18 was 20 µm.

The obtained integrally formed article had a weight of 127 g and was confirmed to be integrally formed as a housing excellent in lightweight and stiffness. When the adhesive strength of the integrally formed article was measured, the interfacial delamination did not occur, and at a tensile force of 10 MPa, the frame member was broken. The maximum impregnation thickness 57 was 30 µm.

Example 6

An integrally formed article 3 was produced according to the same method as in Example 4, except that a 1 mm thick sheet obtained by slicing "Toraypef (registered trademark)" 30060 (closed cell polyethylene foam, thickness 6 mm, specific gravity 0.03) produced by Toray Industries, Inc. was used as the core component.

The sandwich structure as a top plate had a thickness of 1.4 mm and a bending modulus of elasticity of 30 GPa. When the adhesive strength between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II) was measured, the interfacial delamination did not occur, and at a tensile force of 1 MPa, the core component was broken. At their joint interfaces, the same impregnation structure as in Example 1 was confirmed, and the maximum impregnation length 18 in this case was 20 µm.

The obtained integrally formed article had a weight of 84 g and was confirmed to be integrally formed as a housing excellent in lightweight and stiffness. When the adhesive strength of the integrally formed article was measured, the interfacial delamination did not occur, and at a tensile force of 10 MPa, the frame member was broken. The maximum impregnation thickness 57 was 30 µm.

Examples of preparing the materials used in the following examples of the invention are described below.

Reference Example 2-1

A copolymer mainly composed of polyacrylonitrile was spun and burned to prepare carbon fibers as 24000 filaments in total. The properties of the carbon fibers were as follows.

Mass per unit length 1.7 g/m Specific gravity 1.8 g/cm3 Tensile strength 5 GPa Tensile modulus of elasticity 235 GPa
The obtained carbon fibers were electrolytically treated on the surfaces at 3 coulombs per 1 g of the carbon fibers in an aqueous solution containing sulfuric acid as an electrolyte, and further a sizing agent was deposited. At first, an aqueous solution containing 4% of polyoxyethylene oleyl ether represented by the following chemical formula:



        C18H35O-(CH2CH2O)8-H



and having a number average molecular weight of 600 and an HLB of 11.3 was prepared, and the carbon fibers were immersed in the aqueous solution, so that 1.5 wt% of polyoxyethylene oleyl ether was deposited on the carbon fibers. The carbon fibers were dried at 200°C for 2 minutes using a hot air dryer and cut to a length of 6.4 mm using a cartridge cutter, to obtain chopped carbon fibers.

Respectively predetermined amounts of the obtained chopped carbon fibers and a powder obtained by freeze-grinding polyamide 6 resin (CM1001, melting point 215°C produced by Toray Industries, Inc.) to an average particle size of 300 µm were formed into a web by a paper-making method, and the web was dried at 140°C to remove water. The obtained web was heated and pressed at 240°C and at a face pressure of 0.5 MPa for 8 minutes and cooled at room temperature, to obtain a core component (C-1) having a thickness of 0.6 mm, a unit weight of 150 g/m2, a specific gravity of 0.25 and a carbon fiber content of 33 wt%.

Fig. 11 is an SEM photograph showing the surface of the core component (I). As can be seen from Figs. 4 and 11, carbon fiber filaments 41 cross each other to form a void structure (network structure) 44. As can be seen from Figs. 4 and 11, almost all the crossing portions 42 are covered with the polyamide 6 resin 43.

Reference Example 2-2

A web obtained according to the same method as in Reference Example 2-1 was heated and pressed at 240°C and at a face pressure of 0.5 MPa for 2 minutes and cooled at room temperature, to obtain a core component (C-2) having a thickness of 1.5 mm, a unit weight of 400 g/m2, a specific gravity of 0.27 and a carbon fiber content of 33 wt%.

Fig. 12 is an SEM photograph showing the surface of the core component (I). It can be seen that the crossing portions 42 of the carbon fiber filaments 41 covered with the polyamide 6 resin 43 account for less than 50% of all the crossing portions 42.

Reference Example 2-3

Pellets of a polycarbonate resin (Lexan 121R, load deflection temperature 130°C, produced by Japan GE Plastics Co., Ltd.) were processed into a film (F-3) having a size of 350 x 350 mm and a unit weight of 30 g/m2.

Example 7

The core component (C-1) prepared in Reference Example 2-1 was used as the core component (I) to prepare a laminate comprising 0 degrees/90 degrees/film (F-3)/core component/film (F-3)/90 degrees/0 degrees/film (F-1), and a sandwich structure (III) and an integrally formed article were produced according to the same methods as in Example 1.

The sandwich structure (III) as a top plate had a thickness of 1.1 mm and a bending modulus of elasticity of 36 GPa. The adhesive strength between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II) was 2 MPa, and at their joint interfaces, the same impregnation structure as in Example 1 was confirmed. The maximum impregnation length 18 was 15 µm.

The obtained integrally formed article had a weight of 117 g and was confirmed to be integrally formed as a housing excellent in lightweight and stiffness. When the adhesive strength of the integrally formed article was measured, the interfacial delamination did not occur, and at a tensile force of 10 MPa, the frame member was broken. The maximum impregnation thickness 57 was 30 µm.

Example 8

The core component (C-2) prepared in Reference Example 2-2 was used as the core component (I), and a sandwich structure (III) and an integrally formed article were produced according to the methods as in Example 7.

The sandwich structure (III) as a top plate had a thickness of 1.5 mm, and the core component (I) was made thinner to 1. 0 mm due to the influence of heating and pressurization during forming. The bending modulus of elasticity was 32 GPa. The adhesive strength between the core component (I) and the fiber reinforced components (II) was 0.5 MPa. At their joint interfaces, the same impregnation structure as in Example 1 was confirmed, and the maximum impregnation length 18 was 15 µm.

The obtained integrally formed article had a weight of 138 g and was confirmed to be integrally formed as a housing excellent in lightweight and stiffness. When the adhesive strength of the integrally formed article was measured, the interfacial delamination did not occur, and at a tensile force of 10 MPa, the frame member was broken. The maximum impregnation thickness 57 was 30 µm.

Industrial Applicability

The sandwich structure of the invention has excellent mechanical properties, lightweight and thinness based on its characteristic structure. The method for producing a sandwich structure of the invention has excellent mass productivity, and the production can be performed very economically compared with the conventional production. The integrally formed article having the sandwich structure of the invention can be suitably used as a part, member or housing of an electric or electronic apparatus such as a notebook-type personal computer.


Anspruch[en]
A sandwich structure (III) comprising a core component (I) and one each fiber reinforced component (II) composed of continuous reinforcing fibers (A) and a matrix resin (B) and disposed on both surfaces of said core component (I), in which said core component (I) has voids, a thickness of 0.1 to 1.5 mm and a specific gravity of 0.01 to 1.2; and the adhesive strength between said core component (I) and said fiber reinforced components (II) measured according to ASTM D 3846 is 1 MPa or more. The sandwich structure, according to claim 1, wherein said core component (I) comprises a foamed body having closed cells. The sandwich structure, according to claim 1, wherein said core component (I) is formed of a polyolefin resin. The sandwich structure, according to claim 3, wherein a modified polyolefin resin layer is disposed between a layer of said core component (I) and a layer of said fiber reinforced components (II). The sandwich structure, according to claim 4, wherein the melt viscosity of said modified polyolefin resin measured at 160°C is 10 to 500 Pa.s. The sandwich structure, according to claim 4, wherein said modified polyolefin resin contains 20 wt% or more of an acid-modified polyolefin resin that has an acid value of 10 or more. The sandwich structure, according to claim 4, wherein said modified polyolefin resin is impregnated into bundles of said reinforcing fibers used in said fiber reinforced components (II) ; and the maximum impregnation length of said modified polyolefin resin is 10 µm or more. A sandwich structure (III) comprising a core component (I) and one each fiber reinforced component (II) composed of continuous reinforcing fibers (A) and a matrix resin (B) and disposed on both surfaces of said core component (I), in which said core component (I) is composed of discontinuous reinforcing fibers and a thermoplastic resin; filaments of said discontinuous reinforcing fibers cross each other to form a void structure; said thermoplastic resin is disposed at crossing portions of the discontinuous reinforcing fibers; and said core component (I) has a thickness of 0.1 to 1.5 and a specific gravity of 0.1 to 1.0. The sandwich structure, according to claim 8, wherein the crossing portions of filaments in said core component (I) deposited with said thermoplastic resin account for 50% or more of all the crossing portions. The sandwich structure, according to claim 8, wherein said thermoplastic resin has a melting point or a load deflection temperature of 160°C or higher. The sandwich structure, according to claim 8, wherein a thermoplastic resin layer is disposed between a layer of said core component (I) and a layer of said fiber reinforced components (II); and a thermoplastic resin constituting said thermoplastic resin layer has a melting point or a load deflection temperature of 160°C or lower. The sandwich structure, according to claim 11, wherein said thermoplastic resin constituting said thermoplastic resin layer is impregnated into bundles of said reinforcing fibers used in said fiber reinforced components (II), and the maximum impregnation length of said thermoplastic resin is 10 µm or more. The sandwich structure, according to claim 1 or 8, wherein said reinforcing fibers (A) are carbon fibers. The sandwich structure, according to claim 1 or 8, wherein said matrix resin (B) is a thermosetting resin. An integrally formed article, in which a sandwich structure (III) as set forth in claim 1 or 8 as a first member and another structural member as a second member are bonded to each other; said first member has a planar form; and said second member has its shape changed in the thickness direction. The integrally formed article, according to claim 15, wherein said first member and said second member are bonded to each other through an adhesive layer. The integrally formed article, according to claim 16, wherein said adhesive layer is formed of a thermoplastic resin. The integrally formed article, according to claim 17, wherein said adhesive layer is bonded to said fiber reinforced component (II); and said thermoplastic resin constituting said adhesive layer and said matrix resin (B) used in said fiber reinforced component (II) are bonded to each other with ruggedness formed at the joint interface. The integrally formed article, according to claim 18, wherein said thermoplastic resin constituting said adhesive layer is impregnated into bundles of said reinforcing fibers used in said fiber reinforced component (II); and the maximum impregnation length is 10 µm or more. The integrally formed article, according to claim 15, wherein said second member is a member made of a thermoplastic resin composition. An electric or electronic apparatus, in which an integrally formed article as set forth in claim 15 is used to form a part, member or housing thereof. A method for producing a sandwich structure as set forth in claim 1 or 8, comprising the lamination step of disposing one each thermally adhesive substrate (m) formed of a thermoplastic resin on both surfaces of a core component (I) and laminating and disposing one each prepreg component obtained by impregnating a thermosetting resin as a matrix resin (B) into bundles of the continuous reinforcing fibers (A), onto said thermally adhesive substrates (m), and the molding step of disposing a laminate obtained by said lamination step into a mold and letting heat and pressure act for molding, wherein said thermoplastic resin of said thermally adhesive substrates (m) is impregnated into said bundles of said reinforcing fibers during curing reaction of said thermosetting resin or during preheating before curing reaction in said molding step. The method for producing the sandwich structure, according to claim 22, wherein the step of disposing a thermally adhesive substrate (n) formed of a thermoplastic resin further on a surface of a laminate obtained by said lamination step is undergone; subsequently said laminate covered with said thermally adhesive substrate (n) is supplied to said molding step; and said thermoplastic resin of said thermally adhesive substrate (n) is impregnated into said bundles of said reinforcing fibers during said curing reaction of said thermosetting resin or during preheating before said curing reaction. A method for producing an integrally formed article as set forth in claim 15, characterized in that a sandwich structure (III) as set forth in claim 1 or 8 as a first member and another structural member as a second member are bonded to each other by at least one integration method selected from the group consisting of thermal welding, vibration welding, ultrasonic welding, laser welding, insert injection molding, and outsert injection molding.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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