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Composites Industry News

News for November 2001


Highway Bridge Reaches Test Stage

9th November 2001 0 comments

ASSET, the innovative structural system based on advanced composite profiles, has started laboratory tests in Spain in readiness for the installation of a prototype highway bridge in the UK during mid-2002 to carry vehicles of up to 40 tonnes. This is part of the ASSET (Advanced Structural System for Tomorrow’s infrastructure) research programme being carried out by a European consortium led by Mouchel experts in composite structures. The four-year project is part-funded with £1.5M from the EU under the Industrial & Materials Technologies Brite-EuRam III programme. The aim is to develop a complete lightweight structural system of high-strength standardised profiles, lengths of which can be rapidly assembled for small bridges and other structures or used as heavy duty decking and flooring. Low whole-life costs will result from the material’s superior resistance to fatigue and corrosion, and minimal maintenance requirements. During the first two years of the project, Mouchel has optimised a fibre-reinforced polymer profile of prismatic multi-cell design for mass production by pultrusion techniques. This patented profile makes best use of the composite’s properties and does not mimic structural shapes used by traditional materials. ASSET consortium partner Fiberline Composites A/S of Denmark has perfected the pultrusion die and is now precision-producing a two-cell version of the profile, 225mm deep and 520mm width (including overlapping sections), in lengths exceeding 30 metres. Mouchel’s design incorporates mating and overlapping sections so that lengths of the two-cell profile can be factory-bonded together side-by-side to form a high-strength deck structure, repeatable in 300mm widths and able to carry concentrated wheel loads. Specialist knowledge on the joining of composite materials came from Swedish university KTH, another partner in the ASSET consortium. Parallel work by ASSET partner HIM Chemie BV of the Netherlands has identified an epoxy-based surfacing system and polymer concrete that will bond securely on the profile to provide high-grip low-wear action for traffic and pedestrians. Reported Dr Sam Luke, Mouchel’s head of advanced engineering: “We are at the stage where Spanish research institute IETCC (another ASSET partner) has started a programme of 150 large-scale tests on 2.2m and 4.4m lengths of the profile. Single, double and triple profiles will be subjected to static and dynamic loads, including four-point bending and the study of hogging, sagging, shear and local wheel effects.” Mouchel is now working with ASSET client partner Oxfordshire County Council, Skanska Teknik AB of Sweden and contractor Skanska UK (both ASSET partners) to design and gain planning permission for a prototype composite bridge at West Mill in SW Oxfordshire. This ten-metre single span structure, seven metres wide, will carry two traffic lanes and footpaths over a river to replace an 1870s bridge that can only take a single traffic lane with its 3.5 metres width. Explained Sam Luke: “Oxfordshire’s involvement with this innovative new-build project follows substantial development work we have carried out with the County’s bridge engineers on plate bonding of composites for structural strengthening over the past six years. The current project should prove ASSET’s great advantages over traditional construction methods — lower weight, easy handling and rapid installation. “Our plan is to produce seven-metre sections of the two-cell ASSET profile and bond 34 of these side-by-side to form a rigid deck structure 10m long. We will then bond and mechanically fix four composite box-section beams beneath the deck to span the river.” This prefabricated composite structure, together with its concrete upstands, diaphragms and parapets, will weigh just 27 tonnes — a load that Skanska can economically crane into position on new abutments. An equivalent concrete structure would be around 95 tonnes and prove far more time consuming to construct. State-of-the-art instrumentation will continuously monitor key elements of the bridge for immediate use by Oxfordshire’s engineers, and a web-camera will provide real-time views of traffic action. All performance data will be displayed on the ASSET web-site for academic research and public information. “We have rigorously designed the profile to European and British codes of practice, which are among the world’s most conservative,” confirms Mouchel director Malcolm Taylor. “The longterm monitoring is designed to prove the technology and confirm the system’s outstanding strength and fatigue resistance. “Armed with our experience of structural strengthening with advanced composites, and the knowledge already gained through the current research programme, we will soon be ready to market the ASSET system globally.”

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Spectra Is Selected for New Fortified Doors for Aircraft Cockpits

9th November 2001 0 comments

Honeywell’s Spectra composite material has been selected by C&D Aerospace as the primary ballistic protection material for its new strengthened cockpit doors.

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Jaguar’s XKR-R: The Cat with the Sharpest Claws

9th November 2001 0 comments

For the first time in North America, Jaguar showed a development of its XKR Coupe sports car, the XKR-R Performance Prototype. The vehicle debuted at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)’s trade show here. This also is the first time that Jaguar North America has had an official presence at the SEMA show, the largest aftermarket component show in the world. “”From our earliest days under company founder Sir William Lyons, Jaguar cars have always been about the excitement of driving,”” said Mike Massey, development manager for Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), based in Coventry, England. “”The XKR-R Performance Prototype was produced to show just how far we could go with the basic XKR architecture, with the addition of a few modifications. We aimed to build a road car — comfortable, easy to live with and very drivable — that could acquit itself with the very best track cars. I think we’ve succeeded.”” To meet the SVO team’s design brief, the car was built from the ground up using new, modified and custom-built parts. Not a single component escaped the team’s attention in the metamorphosis from stock XKR to the unique XKR-R, from the revised shape of the front bumper to the quad-outlet exhaust. The team started the process of strengthening the car by seam-welding the unibody. To enhance rigidity, the front suspension crossbeam was mounted to the underbody using aluminum bushings, rather than the standard rubber items. The steering rack is shared with the XK180 show vehicle — another SVO creation — and gives a fast 2.2 turns lock-to-lock. The custom Eibach springs with fully adjustable racing-type remote-reservoir shock absorbers are specific to this vehicle. SVO began strengthening the rear by installing an eight-point roll-bar. The rear suspension is greatly revised from the stock XKR, and features the entire rear floor area from the S-TYPE sedan, along with the rear axle from an S-TYPE. As Massey explains, “”Use of the S-TYPE axle allowed us a greater range of adjustment and tuning, keeping in mind the dual personality of the car.”” The XKR-R rides lower than a stock XK8 by 30 millimeters, and the purposeful look of the car is further accentuated by the fitting of Jaguar’s own 20-inch BBS-sourced R-Performance wheels. The wheels are filled with Jaguar’s Brembo-sourced R-Performance brake calipers and cross-drilled rotors. With the addition of specially produced front and rear bumpers, sculptured rocker panels and trunk lid spoiler, the car looks more purposeful and aggressive, yet retains that Jaguar elegance. Inside, the XKR-R is a showcase for planned R-Performance dealer-installed options and one-off components. Occupant protection is paramount, so, in addition to the rollbar, SVO installed Recaro racing seats and four-point seatbelts. The instruments are ringed with R-Performance aluminum bezels, the dash is trimmed with carbon fiber, rather than Jaguar’s usual wood, and the pedals receive aluminum covers for sure footing in fast driving. But the real fun is under the louvered hood. Twin carbon-fiber air intakes, enlarged intercoolers and an increased supercharger crank-pulley ratio increase the stock car’s 370-horsepower toward SVO’s 450-horsepower target. The car currently produces about 400-horsepower, with 400 lb./ft. of torque. Behind the engine, SVO replaced the stock five-speed automatic transmission with a customized Tremec T-56 six-speed manual unit, similar to that found in the Dodge Viper and Chevrolet Corvette. The T56 is a stout unit, and paired with an AP Racing twin-plate clutch, is a suitable partner for the XKR-R’s power and torque. So will the XKR-R Performance Prototype ever see production? It is currently both Jaguar and SVO’s fastest parts test-bed and serves as an example of the skills and talents of the company’s designers, craftspeople and engineers. It was intended to stretch the limits of the XK chassis and engine, to prove the performance that is latent in the car. Certainly, some of the R-Performance items are either already available or will soon be. Interest within the company to move it toward production is high, but at this time, no final decision has been rendered as to what the future holds for the car.

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Callaway and Land Rover Debut Powerful SEMA

9th November 2001 0 comments

For the 2001 SEMA show, Callaway and Land Rover have teamed up to debut the “”Freelander Supercharged-Performance by Callaway,”” an all-new concept that follows closely on the heels of the Freelander’s U.S. introduction. The vibrant Azul Blue concept vehicle elegantly showcases how extraordinary street performance and legendary off- road capability mesh seamlessly in one powerfully engineered package. Sporting a Callaway Freelander badge, the concept defines Callaway’s vehicle development philosophy — as well as the responsiveness, creativity and precision performance engineering capabilities of the Callaway organization. Developed in just over six weeks, the concept vehicle features a full complement of Callaway enhancements, from extensive engine, chassis and suspension modifications to a beautifully executed exterior design treatment. True to Callaway’s engineering approach, the company’s entire team of seasoned vehicle specialists — spanning two continents, three countries, and four separate facilities — contributed to the project. The result is a concept vehicle that delivers the superior performance and distinctive design that today’s driving enthusiast demands, without sacrificing the Freelander’s essential character. Supercharged, Super Smooth, Super Efficient — This Powerplant Compromises Nothing Callaway’s engine development group welcomed the challenge of infusing the Freelander’s standard 174-bhp 2.5L naturally aspirated V6 with a significantly higher level of power. The result is a custom-engineered 250-bhp supercharged powerplant, featuring 260 lb.-ft torque at 4000 rpm and a broad, user-friendly powerband. Unofficial performance estimates point to 0-60 mph speeds in the 7.7-second range, with a standing-start quarter mile potential of 15.9 seconds at 89 mph. The concept also delivers impressive 0.93g lateral acceleration. For a flawless finish, a special Callaway carbon fiber engine cover wraps around the Supercharger, hinting at the engine’s remarkable performance. Callaway also designed and fabricated exclusive carbon fiber brake ducts, integrated in the front bumper.

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Cypriot Company Begins Mass Production of Nanotubes

9th November 2001 0 comments

Cypriot company Rosseter has started production of nanotubes in bulk and at commercial prices. Rosseter, headed by a Russian scientist Vladislay Ryzhikov, announced the breakthrough in the research and development at a symposium in Japan earlier this month. Rosseter, with its headquarter in Limassol town at the island’s southern coast, was set up by a group of Cypriot businessmen in 1998. Discovered in 1991, nanotubes are a new form of carbon after diamond and graphite. A nanotube is 50,000 times thinner than a human hair but 100 times stronger than steel at only one sixth of the weight. They are chemically inert, but have a high electrical and thermal conductivity. Applications and products have been identified in many areas of industry, including micro-electronics, flat screens, fibre optics, superconductors, lubricants, avionics, telecoms, materials and coatings. According to the Cyprus Weekly, Rosseter, in parallel to its investment in capacity, plans to develop a global distribution network with a focus on large corporations in the electronics, materials and aerospace industries.

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Halliburton KBR Receives Contract for Ultra Deepwater Spar/DDCV Study

9th November 2001 0 comments

Halliburton KBR has been awarded a contract for a conceptual engineering study of a Spar/Deep Draft Caisson Vessel (DDCV) in 10,000 ft water depth in the Gulf of Mexico. The R&D study is sponsored and funded by DeepStar, which is supported by 15 oil company participants and about 50 other contributor companies. Halliburton KBR, formerly Kellogg Brown & Root, is the engineering and construction segment of Halliburton. The study involves engineering and costing of a Spar/DDCV for very large topsides and a large number of risers in ultra-deep waters. A high pressure and high temperature reservoir is specified. Three options for mooring system and riser design will be investigated: steel mooring with steel risers; polyester mooring with steel risers; and polyester mooring with composite risers. A team of Halliburton KBR engineers from the Offshore Technology Division located in Houston began work on the project in early October with completion of the study scheduled for March 2002. The contract’s scope of work includes providing conceptual design and analyses; developing major operations sequences and identifying key equipment needed for fabrication and installation; developing cost and schedule estimates; and documenting analyses, design, drawings, schedules, costs, findings and recommendations. “”This contract highlights our industry-leading technical capability for ultra-deepwater concept development,”” said Jan Veldwijk, senior vice president, Halliburton KBR’s Offshore Operations. “”It also recognizes our spar-based production system technology capability.””

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Over 150 Companies in Wood Composites and Plastic Lumber Market

9th November 2001 0 comments

The 1.3 billion lb market for natural and wood fiber-based composites and plastic lumber in North America consists of a diverse range of producers from traditional plastics processors to building products and automotive component suppliers, from start-up companies to Fortune 500 industry leaders. A new report titled Wood Composites And Plastic Lumber Directory, First Edition details the activities of the over 150 producers of natural and wood fiber-based composites and plastic lumber in the United States and Canada. The report contains over 200 pages of company-specific profiles, as well as industry information, including the following special features: current industry demand and long-term growth; trends in consolidation, advances in processing/equipment and product technology; and industry structure, end uses, and major producers. Raw materials, including resin types, grades, technical specifications, additives, annual consumption, process, types of profiles and manufactured items, and end markets served are specified. Suppliers are identified where available. Expected changes in purchasing trends are also covered. Raw materials tracked in each company profile include: polymers (i.e. HDPE, LDPE, PP, PVC, PS, commingled reclaim), fibers (i.e. wood fiber/flour, crop fiber), and additives (e.g., concentrates, coupling agents, heat stabilizers, lubricants, etc.). The guide is the latest study related to the polymer-wood composites industry conducted by Principia Partners, the Exton, PA-based market research and business consulting firm. The directory is prepared by consultants from Principia’s professional staff who have monitored the business development activities in the dynamic and growing synthetic lumber market since the business was first established over ten years ago. Study results will be available in first quarter 2002.

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Adam Aircraft Produces First Parts

9th November 2001 0 comments

Adam Aircraft Industries has produced the first parts for the first conforming prototype CarbonAero. John Knudsen, President, explains, “”The horizontal stabilizer box and leading edge have been successfully produced. This marks an extremely important step towards construction of the plane and certification. In addition to the horizontal stabilizer, tools for the fuselage, flight control surfaces and tail booms are nearing completion with parts to follow.”” Knudsen adds, “”We anticipate having our first fuselage built in November. With 72 employees, the tempo of operations at Adam Aircraft Industries has increased dramatically. We are on schedule to fly the conforming prototype by summer 2002 and are on track for type certification and first deliveries in 2003.”” The CarbonAero is a 6-place, all composite, centerline thrust piston twin. Technology such as carbon composite structure, state-of-the-art avionics and single power-lever engines make this a true modern aircraft.

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Northrop Grumman a Principal Member of Joint Strike Fighter Team

9th November 2001 0 comments

Kent Kresa, chairman and chief executive officer of Northrop Grumman said, “”We are very pleased and proud to be a principal member of the Lockheed Martin JSF team. This award is a very important victory for Northrop Grumman. JSF is a stealthy, supersonic aircraft designed for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, as well as the British Royal Air Force and Navy. Plans call for more than 3,000 aircraft over the life of the program. The announcement today gives the Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAE SYSTEMS team the go-ahead to begin the program’s System Design and Development phase to produce 22 test aircraft. Integrated Systems is responsible for detailed design and integration of the JSF center fuselage and weapons bay, including installation design and integration of installed subsystems; substantial portions of systems engineering including operational analysis, mission systems architecture design, and specialty engineering; development of a substantial portion of mission systems software; ground and flight test support; training courseware; development support in the area of signature/low observables, and support of modeling and simulation activities including pilot-in-the-loop simulations. Integrated Systems, which is headquartered in Dallas, Tex., performs its JSF work in El Segundo, Calif. “”This announcement represents a significant win for Northrop Grumman,”” said Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., corporate vice president and president of Integrated Systems. “”As one of a handful of companies with expertise in total systems design and integration, our role in advanced stealth, airframe and mission systems and composites design and manufacturing adds significantly to this strong team. We are extremely pleased that this trust has been given to us and the other members of the team, and we will work to honor that commitment,”” Mr. Crosby said.

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Bombardier to refurbish passenger coaches in Hungary

9th November 2001 0 comments

Bombardier Transportation has been awarded a contract by the Hungarian State Railways (MAV) for the refurbishment of 136 suburban passenger railway coaches. The total value of the contract is approximately $58 million Cdn (40 million euros). Deliveries are scheduled to take place between July 2002 and July 2003. The Bombardier Transportation facility located in Dunakeszi, Hungary will be responsible for the refurbishment of the vehicles, which comprises replacing the worn and used parts of the coaches and modernizing the technical equipment. The refurbished vehicles will be equipped with air-heating system, automatic sliding doors, glass-fibre reinforced plastic interior covering, individual seats with textile upholstery, luggage racks with glass pane and fluorescent lamps. Bombardier Transportation is present in Hungary with its manufacturing plant located in Dunakeszi. Activities in the Dunakeszi plant include manufacturing, refurbishment, reengineering and overhaul of passenger rail vehicles.

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