Huntsman Advanced Materials Enhances Production Processes at Composites Europe 2012

14 August 2012

At Composites Europe 2012, Düsseldorf, Germany, 9th – 11th October 2012, Huntsman will look at growing demands for faster processing and reduced production cycles, focusing on the role high-performance chemistries are playing in enabling more efficient manufacturing techniques and the increased penetration of composites.

According to Huntsman, while aerospace-derived prepreg materials for autoclave cure were regularly used within the racing and high value sectors of the industry, for composites to be cost-effective for the mass production of parts, both the manufacturing processes and resin systems needed to be adapted.

It says to meet faster processing and shorter production cycle requirements, it has developed epoxy liquid resin systems for out-of-autoclave processes, such as ‘high pressure’ resin transfer moulding (HP-RTM), which enable production cycles as short as five minutes. Other fast curing epoxy systems, such as expandable epoxy systems (EES), are also available for wet compression moulding. Involving moderate costs, EES allows the easy and exact moulding of complicated shapes and extremely short cycle times between 45-60 seconds at 145-160°C.

The increasing length of wind turbine blades has prompted the more widespread use of advanced composites, which has in turn led to demands for new materials and manufacturing methods. Huntsman explains that its Germanischer Lloyd (GL) approved epoxy resin systems offer enhanced mechanical and processing properties that improve product quality, lower (consistent) blade weight, deliver high strength and fatigue properties and enhance impact resistance. The low viscosities of these systems facilitate fast infusion processing and reduced production cycle times.

Huntsman says it also offers tooling materials for the construction of high quality, lightweight, heatable composite moulds, which can be used for wet lay-up, resin infusion and high temperature prepreg applications. It has recently launched a new hot curing epoxy system (RenLam LY 120 / Ren HY 99) which has primarily been developed for the large-scale tooling and composite production of wind rotor blades and large marine components.

Huntsman claims its expertise spans the three main structural adhesive categories; including epoxy, polyurethane and methylmethacrylate-based adhesives. It says recent developments in this area have concentrated on the market for high-end applications and new solutions for composite to composite bonding and for bonding composites to other substrates.

Huntsman is also introducing new materials to its range of building blocks in the drive to enable market differentiation for formulators, focused on delivering mechanical and thermal performance improvements in the areas of composites and adhesives. It says highlights include di-tri-tetra functional epoxies which provide formulators with a full set of building blocks for formulated composite and adhesive systems to improve thermal, mechanical and processing properties as well as tougheners and flexibilisers, epoxy hardeners and benzoxazine resins.

Huntsman will be available at Hall 8a, Booth D15 during the Composites Europe Show.

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