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Composites Industry News

News for June 2001


NAFEMS Awareness Seminar: Advances in Composites Analysis & Design

1st June 2001 0 comments

20th June 2001 The purpose of the seminar is to present an up to date synopsis of modelling techniques for the analysis of elastic and inelastic behaviour of composite structures, subjected to static and dynamic loading. Composite materials can offer significant gains in specific materials properties over their metallic counterparts and their anisotropic nature and laminate construction allow designers to tailor structural properties to loading requirements. However, FE modelling of composites structures requires specialist skills to correctly define directional properties, modes of failure and failure propagation and these aspects must be correctly analysed at the design stage if the advantages of composites are to be fully exploited. The seminar will include presentations on the following: Elastic anistropic laminated analysis; Failure modelling – in plane and delaminated; Post first-failure-analysis :- damage mechanics; Impact and energy absorption. The seminar is aimed at engineers involved in design, analysis of composite structures and assessment. It will also serve to provide technical managers with an overview of the latest technique being used by industry.

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Shuttle motor test is successful

1st June 2001 0 comments

A full-scale Space Shuttle Reusable Solid Rocket Motor was test fired for 123.2 seconds Thursday, May 24, in Promontory, Utah, at Thiokol Propulsion. “”The test went smoothly and an initial look at the data indicates all objectives were achieved,”” said Steve Cash, chief engineer for the Reusable Solid Rocket Motor Project Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The test is part of the flight qualification process of a new insulation design on the motor’s nozzle to case joint that will improve flight safety and helps reduce costs on the motor. Support motors are used to evaluate, validate and qualify changes proposed for the Shuttle’s Reusable Solid Rocket Motor. The motor tested was built using the same controls and documentation requirements as that of flight motors. On this motor, there were 93 objectives and a total of 576 instrumentation channels being tested. The two-minute test duration was the same length of time that the motors perform during Shuttle flights. There were four major certification objectives for the test of Flight Support Motor-9. One of the more important tests was a change in insulation design on the nozzle-to-case joint J-leg. The proposed design change improves the thermal barrier protecting the O-rings on the motor by eliminating polysulfide, a putty-like material applied to the joint surface as the motor is assembled. The new design incorporates a J-joint – a joint shaped like a J – made of rubber for a better seal and a carbon fiber braided rope. The rope, which is downstream of the J-joint, is another safety addition because it absorbs heat should gas seep past the joint. The new design will enhance the primary thermal barrier and will add another thermal barrier with the rope. The upgrade is slated to fly on the Shuttle in late 2004.

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SP Systems & Airtech / Tygavac Forge New Alliance On Vacuum Consumables

1st June 2001 0 comments

SP Systems and Airtech have concluded a five-year deal in relation to vacuum consumable products. SP Systems supplies the wind energy, marine and automotive composite markets with a wide range of composite materials. These include formulated resin products, prepregs and reinforcements as well as a complete, independently sourced range of vacuum consumable products which complement the main SP product ranges and enables the company to offer complete materials packages. Airtech Advanced Materials Group comprises Airtech International Inc (USA), Tygavac Advanced Materials Ltd (UK) and Airtech Europe S.A. (Europe) and is the world¹s leading manufacturer of vacuum consumable materials and has an unrivalled reputation for quality, service and technical support. With Airtech and SP operating in many of the same markets, it was recognized by both companies that working together to provide ongoing vacuum consumables solutions would be an attractive proposition for both companies as well as for customers and suppliers. Under the new arrangements Airtech have purchased SP¹s main vacuum consumable business, and SP¹s vacuum consumable product range will now be absorbed into the Airtech product range. In this way SP¹s former large vacuum consumable customers will have continuity of supply by being able to buy the former SP products directly from Airtech. Secondly, instead of SP supplying its own vacuum consumable products to other customers, such as those in the marine industry, SP will now stock a range of Airtech products for sale to these customers. Both companies believe that this new agreement will enable them to maintain their independence in the market, and allow each to focus on their respective core activities.

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3TEX Partners With GE Aircraft & NASA Glenn in NC A&T Study

1st June 2001 0 comments

3TEX has been selected to participate in a major National Science Foundation project being led by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T). The other participants are General Electric’s Aircraft Engine Group (GEAE) in Cincinnati, OH and NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH. The study is researching next-generation composite applications using NC A&T’s patented low cost resin transfer molding (RTM) based carbon/carbon composites (CCC) technology. “”Obviously, we are very honored to be selected along with the GE Aircraft Engine Group and the NASA Glenn Research Center,”” said Brad Lienhart, 3TEX CEO. “”This shows how far 3TEX has come in this very competitive industry.”” 3TEX’s core technology was developed in the 1990’s at North Carolina State University’s College of Textiles. Under a NASA sponsored research program at the University’s Mars Mission Research Center, Dr. Mansour Mohamed, founder and current Chairman of 3TEX, and his colleagues invented a unique method of weaving three-dimensional fiber architectures. NC A&T’s resin transfer technology has a number of significant commercial applications including, low cost CCC piston valve for internal combustion (IC) engines, low cost CCC bearing cages for high speed engines, and CCC ion thrusters. 3TEX, Inc. will research applications of the technology in the area of single-piece internal combustion engine pistons and will allow NC A&T to use some of the company’s proprietary technology in the university’s laboratories.

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Dynetek supplies fuel storage for its natural gas vehicles

1st June 2001 0 comments

Calgary-based Dynetek Industries delivered 32 of its natural gas fuel tanks to Labrie Equipment for a fleet of six natural gas-powered refuse haulers, headed for the California market. Dynetek has been working with Labrie over several months to design a fuel storage system that is configured for Labrie’s system. “”The 250 bar (3600 psi) storage system is the result of many months of research and design aimed at conforming our systems to the different North American standards that are in place,”” states Labrie. Dynetek’s cylinders are lightweight, making them an excellent choice of fuel storage systems for natural gas refuse fleets, in which the payload capacity is critical to their business. “”The refuse market is rapidly growing, particularly in California,”” says Heinz Portmann, Dynetek’s President. Five counties in California have legislated that as of July 1, 2001 fleets of 50 trucks or more must be alternative fuel vehicles. Dynetek develops, produces and markets lightweight fuel storage systems for storing compressed natural gas (CNG) for low emission CNG vehicles and compressed hydrogen for zero emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The Dynetek Advanced Lightweight Fuel Storage System(TM) is designed with a seamless thin-wall aluminum liner and a full carbon fibre overwrap.

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Adam Aircraft Sells First Twenty Airplanes

1st June 2001 0 comments

Adam Aircraft Industries has sold 20 M-309 aircraft since the first of the year. Vice President of sales Tom Wiesner said, “”We have built an excellent team of engineers and technicians that are keeping us on schedule. This, along with the opportunity to own a modern, safe, affordable airplane makes it very attractive to own.”” The first twenty airplanes were sold at an introductory price of $695,000.00 and will be delivered beginning in 2003. The price of the next ten airplanes will be announced this week. The price for the M-309 was introduced in January and the response has been very positive. All twenty owners of the first delivery positions have expressed their excitement about being the pioneers of the Adam M-309. Adam Aircraft is thrilled to have a core group of owners who will provide valuable input on some design, avionics and option decisions. The M-309 is a 6-place, all composite, centerline thrust piston twin. Modern technology such as carbon composite structure, a glass cockpit and single power-lever engines make this a state-of-the-art aircraft. It will have a 2,300-pound useful load with a fuel capacity of 250 gallons. At 20,000 feet, the airplane will have a maximum speed of 250 knots with cruise at 220 knots and an economy cruise of 190 knots. The cruising range will be 1,500 nautical miles when operating in fuel economy mode. It has a wingspan of 42 feet, is 34.5 feet long and 9.5 feet high. The cabin length is 13.6 feet long by 4.3 feet wide. Adam Aircraft Industries, based in Englewood, Colo., was founded in 1998 to produce a twin-engine aircraft that provides a combination of groundbreaking technology, reliability, comfort and safety.

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ATP’S Intellitec Division Long Term Contract With Honeywell

1st June 2001 0 comments

Advanced Technical Products has successfully qualified and entered into a jet engine fan duct production contract with Honeywell Engines and Systems of Phoenix, Arizona. The contract is for the fabrication of a composite fan by-pass duct produced by Intellitec’s unique resin transfer molding (RTM) process. This engine duct is used on Honeywell Engines and Systems’ TFE731-20/-40 engine currently supplied to Lear Jet and Dassault. FAA certification was awarded for the duct in April 2001. The initial contract, valued at $600,000, is for duct assemblies to be delivered this year. Deliveries of this duct are projected to continue for the next 10 to 15 years. The new composite assembly, which replaces a sheet metal assembly, achieves several key objectives including meeting aggressive cost targets, a 25% weight reduction and a detail part reduction. Additionally, the need for over 800 driven rivet fasteners at the assembly stage was eliminated. Production deliveries started in May in what may be the shortest design to production effort accomplished by Intellitec to date. “”This is a significant event in that we advanced the use of RTM on engine components and achieved the aggressive time to market needs of our customer,”” stated Mr. Joseph deCillis, Intellitec’s RTM Production Program Manager. According to Mr. Ken Best of Honeywell Engines and Systems Strategic Sourcing, “”The success of this program represents a significant milestone for Honeywell in the advancement of structural composites for propulsion engine applications. Intellitec has met all of the original success criteria for this program, in addition to an accelerated development and certification schedule. This is a tremendous application advancement, which will allow us to offer our customers a duct with reduced weight and improved reliability.”” Intellitec, located in DeLand, Florida, is a supplier of advanced composite structures for the aerospace industry. The division is contracted to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the F-22 Raptor as well as other military and commercial programs. Along with its composite manufacturing capability, Intellitec produces detection and protection systems for weapons of mass destruction, camouflage systems for the US Military and special electronic components for the recreational and over road vehicle markets.

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Porvair Fuel Cell Technology Licence

1st June 2001 0 comments

Porvair Fuel Cell Technology has licensed a new technology developed by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The license relates to a patent-protected porous carbon composite, moldable bi-polar plate, which will undergo trials for use in Proton Exchange Membranes (PEM) fuel cell stacks. Jim Stike, president of PFCT, said he is pleased about adding the bi-polar plate technology to the company’s existing core group of advanced materials products. “”Our Metpore(TM) metal foams and Micromass(TM) porous ceramics are being used in many of the fuel cell components such as heat exchangers, water management systems and catalyst supports,”” Stike said. “”We now have materials that have applications in the fuel reformer, the PEM stack and balance of plant components.”” PFCT plans to take the licensed technology from ORNL and incorporate it into its pilot plant facilities in Hendersonville over the next 90 days. Optimization and scale up to full production will follow.

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USCAR Consortium Successfully Demonstrates SRIM Technology

1st June 2001 0 comments

The United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) has demonstrated the capability to mold large structural reaction injection molded (SRIM) parts through the work of the Automotive Composite Consortium (ACC). SRIM is a promising process for the manufacture of composite structures that have a high degree of part consolidation, improving cost-effectiveness relative to stamped metal structures. In this process, a glass fiber preform is placed in a matched metal mold and low viscosity resin is rapidly injected. The resin quickly impregnates the fibers and rapidly crosslinks to form the rigid polymer matrix. The use of structural polymer composites in cars and trucks can significantly reduce vehicle mass and thus decrease fuel consumption. However, the industry has historically been limited in its ability to cost- effectively manufacture large structural parts in high volume. According to Program Manager Doug Denton of DaimlerChrysler, “”This technology can be very beneficial in the effort to reduce the weight of vehicles, but the cost has been prohibitive. The goal of this program was to address issues — like cost — that have been associated with the production of large SRIM structural composite parts.”” The project showed the feasibility of producing parts at a relatively rapid rate that meet performance criteria and saves weight, while costing no more than a steel structure. Use of a fully-automated, robotic process, P4, produced consistent net-shape, net-size chopped glass fiber preforms and achieved high material usage rates and lower cost. The production quality mold was designed with shear edges to allow use of an injection-compression process and production of net-edge parts requiring minimal trimming. The mold incorporated a vacuum to assist in mold filling and fiber wetting. The use of real-time monitoring equipment helped define and optimize molding process parameters. The structural inner of a pickup truck box was selected as the primary demonstration part. A cost model was developed to assess the cost of the composite box assembly relative to a steel assembly using similar production scenarios. The cost model indicated an SRIM composite pickup box can be cost competitive at annual volumes of up to 50,000 units. Researchers demonstrated the feasibility of achieving a four-minute production rate for the pickup box. The box meets performance requirements and weighs 25 percent less than a corresponding steel structure. “”ACC, with the help of our supplier partners, met the goals of the SRIM project and advanced the state of high-volume, low-cost liquid composite molding for use in the automotive industry,”” Denton said. Key among the development accomplishments was advancement of P4 as a means to reliably produce net-shape, net-size random chopped fiber preforms. Manufacturing advancements were made in SRIM for the production of large structures and cored parts. Technology was also developed in the durability characterization of polymer composites, adhesive materials, and NDT methods. ACC functions under the umbrella of USCAR — a cooperative of DaimlerChrysler, Ford and GM established in 1992. The purpose of USCAR is to assist the domestic auto industry in facilitating pre-competitive research.

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Parabeam Introduces a New Line of 3D Glass Fabrics: ParaGlass

1st June 2001 0 comments

Parabeam introduced a new and improved line of 3D glass fabrics called “ParaGlass”. Parabeam 3D Glass Fabrics are a 100% woven E-Glass material consisting of two deck layers bonded by vertical glass piles. During impregnation with a thermoset resin, the fabric is compressed but then immediately rebounds to its original height. The resulting laminate is strong, stiff, lightweight, and durable. The new ParaGlass product line is claimed to offer new thicknesses, easier impregnation qualities, improved drapeability, hgher strength to weight ratio and better surface quality. Parabeam 3D Glass Fabrics are being used in sandwich structures in the marine, construction and transport industries, and also for secondary containment of storage tanks in corrosive environments. You can fax Parabeam on +31.492.570733 or email them using the address below.

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