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New Product Development – Grafoam Carbon Foam

12 April 2007

The Advanced Composites Group launched its first carbon foam product for composite tooling applications at the 2007 JEC Show.

Known as ‘Grafoam’, this is the product of a joint collaboration and distribution agreement with GrafTech International for the development and sale of their GRAFOAM carbon foam products for composite tooling applications.

Over recent months, ACG has worked through a detailed development programme, determining the optimum processing and design guidelines for the application of Grafoam carbon foam in combination with ACG tooling materials in the manufacture of composite tooling. Materials and basic processing technologies were tested and validated through ACG’s Technology Centre then scaled up at Advanced Composite Engineering (ACE), the Group's long established tool design and manufacture facility. Based on promising results, the technology is now ready for more extensive exploitation.

ACG says that there are many potential applications for Grafoam carbon foam. The application in production composite tooling is as a machined and sealed substrate, with epoxy or BMI tooling materials as a surface, which is then finally re-machined to provide a vac-integral tool surface within tight tolerances. This route for tool manufacture allows for the rapid production of a composite tool without the need for a master model,

Following fast on the heels of the premium grade epoxy tooling block TB750, launched at the JEC Show 2006, ACG also introduced a new product ‘ACG TB720’. As with TB750, TB720 has been developed in partnership with Huntsman Advanced Materials (Huntsman) as part of an on-going 5-year collaboration and distribution agreement with ACG. TB720 is an easily machined, lower-cost master model material that ACG say exhibits a good blend of mechanical and physical properties and is fully compatible with ACG's existing range of ancillary adhesives and sealers.