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1. (WO2018226288) MOLDING COMPOUND HAVING RANDOMLY ORIENTED FILAMENTS AND METHODS FOR MAKING AND USING SAME
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WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A method for manufacturing a molding compound, comprising the steps of:

A) forming a bed of unidirectionally aligned multifilament tows, the bed having a weight of 80 to 400 grams per square meter;

B) impregnating the bed with the curable resin composition by applying the curable resin composition to at least one major surface of the bed, heating the curable resin composition to a temperature of at least 40°C and applying pressure to the bed and the heated curable resin composition to form an impregnated multifilament bed having a filament content of 20 to 80% by weight and cooling the impregnated multifilament bed to below 40°C, wherein the curable resin composition:

i) contains at least one epoxy resin, at least one curing agent for the epoxy resin, at least one catalyst for the reaction of the epoxy resin with the curing agent, and an internal mold release agent;

ii) has a glass transition temperature of 0 to 40°C as measured by differential scanning calorimetry;

iii) is heat-softenable;

iv) has a curing temperature of at least 100°C and

v) cures to form a thermoset polymer;

C) cutting the impregnated multifilament bed into strips of unidirectionally aligned filaments embedded in a curable resin composition, said strips having (i) a longest dimension parallel to a direction of alignment of the filaments, said longest dimension being 25 to 100 mm, (ii) a length to width ratio of 16 to 150 and (iii) a length to thickness ratio of 50 to 1000;

D) depositing said strips to form a mat having an areal weight of 700 to 5000 grams per square meter, wherein said strips are randomly oriented within the plane of the mat; and

E) heating the mat to an elevated temperature of at least 40°C and compressing the mat to fuse said strips together to form a molding compound having 20 to 80% by weight of filaments that are randomly oriented in-plane and correspondingly 80 to 20% by weight of the curable resin composition, and cooling the molding compound to below 40°C, wherein the curable resin composition remains heat-softenable after step E) is performed.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the impregnated multifilament bed made in step B) has a filament content of 50 to 70% by weight and the molding compound formed in step G) contains 50 to 70% by weight filaments and correspondingly 50 to 30% by weight of the curable resin composition.

3. The method of claim 1 or 2, wherein the strips have a length to width ratio of 24 to 40 and a width of 0.75 to 3 mm.

4. The method of any preceding claim wherein the areal weight of the mat formed in step D) is 1000 to 3000 g/m2.

5. The method of any preceding claim wherein the strips each contain 3000 to 10,000 unidirectionally aligned filaments.

6. The method of any preceding claim wherein the curable molding composition contains at least one diglycidyl ether of a polyhydric phenol, at least one polyglycidyl ether of a phenol-formaldehyde novolac resin and at least one oxazolidone group-containing polyglycidyl ether of a phenolic compound.

7. The method of claim 6 wherein the at least one catalyst for the reaction of the epoxy resin with curing agent includes a urea compound selected from one or more of toluene bis-dimethylurea p-chlorophenyl-N,N-dimethylurea, 3-phenyl-l, 1-dimethylurea, 3,4-dichlorophenyl-N,N-dimethylurea, N-(3-chloro-4-methylphenyl)-N',N'-dimethylurea.

8. The method of claim 6 or 7 wherein the curing agent includes dicyandiamide.

9. A molding compound produced by the process of any of claims 1-8.

10. A molding compound comprising a mat of fused strips of unidirectionally aligned filaments embedded in a curable resin composition, wherein said strips before fusing (i) have a longest dimension parallel to a direction of alignment of the filaments, said longest dimension being 25 to 100 mm, (ii) a length to width ratio of 16 to 150 and (iii) a length to thickness ratio of 50 to 1000 and wherein said strips contain 20 to 80% by weight of said filaments and correspondingly 80 to 20% by weight of the curable resin composition, wherein the molding compound has a bulk density of 0.02 to 0.5 g/cm3, the strips are oriented randomly in-plane and the mat has an areal density of 700 to 5000 grams per square meter, and further wherein the curable resin composition

i) contains at least one epoxy resin, at least one curing agent for the epoxy resin, at least one catalyst for the reaction of the epoxy resin with the curing agent, and an internal mold release agent;

ii) has a glass transition temperature of 0 to 40°C as measured by differential scanning calorimetry;

iii) is heat-softenable;

iv) has a curing temperature of at least 100°C and

v) cures to form a thermoset polymer.

12. The molding compound of claim 11 wherein the curable molding composition contains at least one diglycidyl ether of a polyhydric phenol, at least one polyglycidyl ether of a phenol-formaldehyde novolac resin and at least one oxazolidone group-containing polyglycidyl ether of a phenolic compound.

13. The molding compound of claim 12 wherein the at least one catalyst for the reaction of the epoxy resin with curing agent includes a urea compound selected from one or more of toluene bis-dimethylurea p-chlorophenyl-N,N-dimethylurea, 3-phenyl- 1, 1-dimethylurea, 3,4-dichlorophenyl-N,N-dimethylurea, N-(3-chloro-4-methylp henyl) - N' , N' - dimethy lurea .

14. The molding compound of claim 12 or 13 wherein the curing agent includes dicyandiamide.

15. A method of making a molded random fiber composition, comprising molding a molding compound of any of claims 11- 15 at a superatmospheric pressure under conditions sufficient to cure the curable resin composition to form a thermoset polymer.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the molding is performed in a mold wherein the molding compound has a largest cross-sectional area from 50 to 80% of the largest cross-sectional area of the mold.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the molding is performed by exposing the molding compound to superatmospheric pressure at a temperature sufficient to cure the curable resin composition for a time of up to 10 minutes to cure the resin composition to form a cured resin having a glass transition temperature of at least 140°C and produce a molded composite having randomly oriented filaments distributed within a matrix of the cured resin.

18. A method for manufacturing a reinforced composite, comprising the steps of: A) forming a bed of unidirectionally aligned multifilament tows, the bed having a weight of 80 to 400 grams per square meter;

B) impregnating the bed with the curable resin composition by applying the curable resin composition to at least one major surface of the bed, heating the curable resin composition to an elevated temperature sufficient to heat-soften the curable resin composition and applying pressure to the bed and the heat-softened curable resin composition to form an impregnated multifilament bed having a filament content of 20 to 80% by weight and cooling the impregnated multifilament bed to re- solidify the curable composition, wherein the curable resin composition:

i) contains at least one epoxy resin, at least one curing agent for the epoxy resin, at least one catalyst for the reaction of the epoxy resin and curing agent and an internal mold release agent;

ii) has a glass transition temperature of 0 to 40°C as measured by differential scanning calorimetry;

iii) is heat-softenable;

iv) has a curing temperature of at least 100°C and

v) cures to form a thermoset polymer;

C) cutting the impregnated multifilament bed into strips having a longest dimension parallel to a direction of alignment of the filaments, said longest dimension being 25 to 100 mm, a length to width ratio of 16 to 150 and a length to thickness ratio of 50 to 1000;

D) depositing said strips in a mold, wherein said strips are randomly oriented in a two-dimensional plane; and

E) molding the strips and curing the curable resin composition in the mold to form the reinforced composite.

19. The method of claim 18 wherein the curable molding composition contains at least one diglycidyl ether of a polyhydric phenol, at least one polyglycidyl ether of a phenol-formaldehyde novolac resin and at least one oxazolidone group -containing polyglycidyl ether of a phenolic compound.

20. The method of claim 19 wherein the at least one catalyst for the reaction of the epoxy resin with curing agent includes a urea compound selected from one or more of toluene bis-dimethylurea p-chlorophenyl-N,N-dimethylurea, 3-phenyl-l, 1-dimethylurea, 3,4-dichlorophenyl-N,N-dimethylurea, N-(3-chloro-4-methylphenyl)-N',N'-dimethylurea.

21. The method of claim 19 or 20 wherein the curing agent includes dicyandiamide.