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Composites Industry News

News for 23 April 2002


JEC Composites Show 2002 a Great Success

23rd April 2002 0 comments

The JEC Composites Show 2002 was held April 9-11 2002 at the Paris Expo fairgrounds. The Show was hailed as a thorough success despite a difficult economic context for several segments of the composites industry, in particular aeronautics and electricity/electronics. Organiser JEC SA gathered together 839 exhibitor companies, compared to 760 in 2001. The rate of international participation climbed from 68% in 2001 to 72% this year, and 35% of new exhibitors were processors, compared to 27% in 2001.There were strides made on the visitor side as well, with 20,681 visitors (compared to 18,801 in 2001) and an exceptional rate of international participation, with 59% of visitors from abroad. The JEC Awards 2002 were awarded in the course of an exceptional soirée held on the occasion of JEC Composites Show 2002, on April 9 at Paris Expo (Porte de Versailles). Open to companies from all over the world which have developed an exemplary “composite solution” in terms of technical quality and market openings, the competition of the JEC AWARDS competition has rewarded successful partnerships selected among the four following categories: Transport, Infrastructure, Industry and Sports & Leisure. Winner of The Transport Category Apatech and partners PA Steklovolokno, Hexcel Composites and Department of way and facilities of the Russian Railway Ministry, for an electrically insulating railway track coupling system that includes fishplates in composite materials. Winner of the Infrastructure Category AGY Advanced Glassfiber Yarns and partners Owens Corning Corp and an optic cable manufacturer, for rods for fibre optic cable core. Winner of The Industry Category Fraunhofer Institut Chemische Technologie and partners Dieffenbacher, Dow, WFS, Polymer-Tec, Menzolit-Fibron, Forschung Zentrum Jülich, Leistritz and BMW, for a compounding and continuous production process for mass-produced long-fibre reinforced thermoplastic parts. Winner of the Sports and Leisure Category Vyatek Sports and partners Fujikura Composites, A&P Technology, Newport Adhesives and Composites and Latex Technology, for «Isogrid Technology», a tube manufacturing process that combines a reinforcing structure and an outer skin that are assembled in a mould (first applications to come: bicycles, golf clubs, arrows, etc.). Since 1998, the JEC Awards have rewarded the best processes, products and applications using composite materials. The very different profiles of the companies nominated and their partners (from the small firm to the multinational company, from the architect to the materials producer) have shown the wealth and great diversity of the composite industry. Over the past 5 years, around 650 candidates have joined the competition, coming from all over the world (including the US, Germany, France, Brazil, Israel, the United Kingdom, Sweden, China, Japan…).

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BP Opens Curv Polypropylene Composite Manufacturing Line

23rd April 2002 0 comments

BP has opened its first large-scale production facility for the manufacture of Curv self reinforced polypropylene composites. The new line has been integrated into the BP fabrics and fibres division’s Gronau, Germany site. BP has commissioned an initial annual capacity of 5,000 tonnes to be supplied in sheets or rolls in thickness from 0.3 to 3.0 mm. Curv is a new concept in thermoplastic materials bridging the gap between commodity plastics and glass reinforced materials. Curv is often referred to as being ‘self-reinforced’ because it comprises high performance thermoplastic fibres in a matrix of exactly the same material. The heart of the Curv patented process is called “hot compaction” technology, where highly drawn fibres are submitted to carefully controlled conditions such that a thin layer from the skin of each fibre is melted, then recrystallised to form a matrix. Around 80% of the original fibre properties are maintained in an all-polypropylene sheet which shows stiffness and strength more often associated with GMT (glass mat thermoplastics). Being 100% polypropylene, Curv has low density, can be thermoformed to make parts using low cost tools and may be easily recycled through existing channels. An unexpected feature of Curv is its outstandingly high impact and abrasion resistance. Design engineers particularly appreciate Curv’s high strain to failure characteristics, providing exceptional energy management properties. Yet more surprising is that unlike other thermoplastics Curv does not become brittle, even at extremely low temperatures. During the past year, a number of leading automotive OEM’s and Tier 1 suppliers have been evaluating a range of new parts using Curv from a pilot line and will now be receiving material from the new line. BP also has a wide range of non-automotive applications in development, including personal protective equipment, sporting goods and transportation cases that make use of the exceptional impact performance made possible by Curv. Parallel to the commissioning of the new Curv production line, a commercial-scale thermoforming machine has been installed in BP’s newly expanded Technology and Development Center in Gronau. The thermoforming line will not be used to produce commercial parts but has been installed to promote new developments and assist in application development using customer tooling.

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Recycling of Composites

23rd April 2002 0 comments

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) is currently looking at the design fibre reinforced polymer composites for easier reuse and recycling. As part of this study, BRE is reviewing fibre/polymer combinations and manufacturing processes used for fibre reinforced composites as well as the amount of waste produced by manufacturers and how this is managed. This is to be achieved through a questionnaire to composites manufacturers as industrial consultation is greatly valued. If you would like to contribute by completing a questionnaire, please contact Amanda Conroy

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Reichhold Introduces New Pultrusion Resin

23rd April 2002 0 comments

Reichhold is introducing a new pultrusion resin, DION® 31066, in both the Americas and Europe. Key features of the new pultrusion resin include faster line speeds up to 100 inches per minute and richer, deeper colors especially blues, blacks and reds previously unattainable through pultrusion. Faster line speeds are achievable due to DION 31066’s proprietary, one-pack system with a highly reactive base. Because it is a one-pack system versus a traditional two-pack system, pultruders will find that formulation with DION 31066 is easier, reducing labor and opportunity for error in weighing, blending and dispensing. In addition DION 31066 also provides improved shock resistance in pultruded parts. Similar to other one-pack systems, mechanical properties are better than those of two-pack systems due to superior phase domain size. Parts pultruded with DION 31066 also exhibit good weatherability and water absorption is low. The chemical make-up of DION 31066 does not require non-shrink additives which tend to whiten upon curing, causing pultruded profiles to lighten in color. The absence of these additives allows for the production of dark blue, red and black profiles when using DION 31066. Pultruders will find that profiles based on this resin provide surface appearance comparable to thermoplastics.

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LSM 21 achieves DNV approval.

23rd April 2002 0 comments

MICAM Ltd. is pleased to announce that its special decorative laminate (MICAM LSM 21) has been given DNV (Det Norske Veritas) approval. MICAM LSM 21 can be used in areas where other standard decorative laminates cannot be used because of particular fire issues. This particularly applies to marine applications when fire specifications are very tight. The laminate has been tested when bonded directly onto honeycomb and given approval for use as Class C Division. This gives weight advantage over the standard approach of laminate onto aluminium sheet then honeycomb. Typical weight is 5 Kg / Sq. Mtr. for 16 mm composite. It is available in a wide range of colours and patterns and is mechanically very strong because of glass fibre reinforcement. The product is graffiti and wear resistant and finds applications in new build and refurbishment of lightweight vessels. MICAM Limited was established in 1966 and operates from a manufacturing facility based in Mallow, Co. Cork, Ireland. Products manufactured by the company are supplied to companies throughout the world.

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New Horizons for Hexcel at JEC 2002

23rd April 2002 0 comments

At this year’s JEC, Hexcel Composites promoted its latest developments for the composites industry, including new fibre-reinforced matrix products, adhesives, honeycombs and carbon fibres that are extending the range of applications for composites. “New Horizon” was the theme of the Hexcel stand. Hexcel’s next generation phenolic matrix, HexPly® M41, has been developed to meet the latest Fire, Smoke and Toxicity (FST) and OSU heat release requirements for aircraft interior parts, such as side wall panels, flooring panels, ceiling panels, galleys and toilet modules. HexPly M41 is a very fast curing matrix, with cure schedules of 4 minutes at 160°C or 7 minutes at 140°C for crushed core pressing. Crushed core pressing is a commonly used technique for manufacturing aircraft interior parts. Honeycomb is sandwiched between prepreg layers in a mould and the core is crushed in local areas during processing to achieve contoured shapes, without the need for honeycomb profiling. The fast low temperature cure cycle enables Tedlar films to be co-cured with HexPly M41 prepreg. HexPly M41 is highly versatile system that, in addition to crushed core pressing, can be processed using a multi-daylight press, autoclave or vacuum bagging. Three levels of tack are available, to suit the preferred manufacturing process. When HexPly M41 is used to manufacture flat panels, a cure cycle of 30 minutes at 135 C is recommended. Hexcel Composites launched HexFIT, its film infusion technology, at JEC 2001. This year Hexcel introduces carbon HexFIT to the product range. HexFIT is supplied as a stack of resin films that are interleaved between layers of dry fibre reinforcements. A special finishing film layer can also be included. HexFIT can be cured using low cost vacuum bag moulding and it enables quality components to be manufactured quickly and cost-effectively. HexFIT is particularly useful for manufacturing thicker composite components, such as wind turbine rotors, as the material is easy to form and produces void free laminates. The new carbon HexFIT variants have unidirectional carbon fibre reinforcement layers. The smaller diameter filaments of carbon fibre can make it difficult to fully infuse the reinforcement when using wet laminating resins. However, with HexFIT the resin only has to flow a few millimetres to fully wet out the laminate, so there is no risk of dry fibres remaining in the cured component. HexFIT produces carbon fibre laminates with a much lower low void content. It also provides improved mechanical properties due to the perfect unidirectional fibre alignment. Until now, Hexcel has not been well known as a manufacturer of gel coats, but two new HexCoat products are being launched at JEC by Hexcel. HexCoat 01 is a new epoxy gel coat developed to meet the requirements of the rail industry. This unique product provides the rail industry required flame-retardency, plus excellent surface finish and a fast low temperature gelation. HexCoat 01 was developed to co-cure with Hexcel’s HexPly M34 prepreg at temperatures between 75 and 130°C. HexCoat 02 was developed for wind energy applications. It is a two-part epoxy system, in which both parts are thixotropic. This makes the gel coat much easier to mix than existing products. HexCoat 02 is highly durable in harsh environments, abrasion resistant and suitable for in-mould use. Hexcel’s Redux® film adhesives have been structurally bonding aerospace components since the 1950’s. Hexcel Composites is now introducing a range of Redux pastes to the established film adhesives, foaming films and primers. The Redux 800 series is a range of one and two-part epoxy pastes that cure at room temperature or at elevated temperature for higher levels of mechanical performance. The range includes Redux 810, a high shear, high peel structural paste for honeycomb bonding, metal-to-metal bonding, composite bonding and structural repair. Redux 820 is a two-part cell edge bonding adhesive, ideal for the manufacture of honeycomb sandwich structures. Redux 830 is a low density syntactic filler that has excellent compression characteristics of up to 50 MPa from a room temperature cure. Redux 840 is a one-part, foaming, thixotropic, epoxy paste adhesive that provides a shear-carrying connection across any discontinuities in bonded sandwich panels. Redux 850 is a high temperature resistant, composite bonding, two-part epoxy paste adhesive, providing excellent lap shear strength. Since Hexcel launched its HexMC carbon fibre/epoxy sheet moulding compound at JEC last year, the award-winning product has attracted the interest of leading sports goods manufacturers, automotive designers and aircraft interior manufacturers worldwide. HexMC enables manufacturers of small to medium sized components to achieve fibre-reinforced thermoset matrix performance from a rapid volume manufacturing process. The visual aspect of HexMC has ensured that product is in demand as much for its aesthetic value as for its low weight and performance enhancing capabilities. HexMC is being used by Trek to manufacture the rear links for the cross country full suspension Trek Fuel 100, enabling a saving of more than 50 grams per bike and providing a link that is twice as strong as its aluminium predecessor. Hexcel began manufacturing honeycomb over 50 years ago, and the HexWeb product range continues to evolve. New products include HexWeb HRP-C fibreglass core for aircraft nacelle applications; HexWeb HDC-F heavy density fibreglass honeycomb for potting replacement in sandwich panels; HexWeb Mil-PAA improved corrosion resistance metallic core for flight control structures and aircraft nacelles; HexWeb HRH-86 low cost non-metallic core for marine and rail interiors, and aircraft secondary structures; and HexWeb HRH-36 high performance aramid honeycomb for lightweight, high performance non-metallic aerospace applications (including aircraft flooring, interiors and secondary structures). Hexcel Composites has augmented its carbon fibre product offering by adding some new products to the existing range. The Magnamite® PV series was developed to improve the translation of carbon fibre tensile strength properties in pressure vessel applications. The new products are marketed under the references PV36/700, PV42/800 and PV42/850. Some customers have already reported a 15-20% improvement in burst pressure performance versus other carbon fibres of the same tow tensile strength. Hexcel has also introduced two new Intermediate Modulus (IM) fibres to complement its well established IM6 and IM7 fibres. The new Magnamite products have the references IMC-12K and IM7C-12K. Both fibres exhibit typical properties of 800 ksi tensile strength and 42msi tensile modulus. Magnamite IMC is targeted at non-aerospace applications and Magnamite IM7C was developed for the aerospace industry.

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New Generation of FiberSIM Software

23rd April 2002 0 comments

Vistagy has released Version 4.0 of FiberSIM. The software enables engineers working with computer-aided-design (CAD) systems to design products made of lightweight, high-performance composite materials. A new architecture in Version 4.0 promotes complete digital product definition, a strategy that leading engineering organizations are using to streamline product development cycles and automate manufacturing processes. “”We saw the value to our customers of completely overhauling the structure of the software,”” says Steve Luby, President and CEO of Vistagy. “”FiberSIM 4.0 is a powerful combination of new software technology with production-proven capabilities for composites design and manufacture. Next-generation FiberSIM represents our most important development effort for the composites industry since our inception ten years ago. The new architecture uniquely positions the software for growth, so that we can continue to offer improvements and new functionality that will benefit our customers.”” FiberSIM 4.0 is built on the same architecture as Vistagy’s award-winning EnCaptaT software, which allows engineers to capture and communicate specialized non-geometric design data. Next-generation FiberSIM offers extensive data integration capabilities based on the open standard of XML, so users can share more detailed data about their composite designs-for example, a list of materials specifications and quantities used-with manufacturing and process engineering, quality assurance, cost modeling, and other systems in the enterprise. Whereas designers must currently use manual methods to exchange this information, electronic data sharing is faster and eliminates data re-entry errors. FiberSIM 4.0 introduces a new and intuitive user interface with a native look and feel for Microsoft® Windows on PCs and Motif® on UNIX systems. Data generated in previous versions of FiberSIM is fully compatible with the new release. The new architecture also provides an increased level of integration with the leading CAD systems, reducing the learning curve and increasing ease-of-use.

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SAMPE 2002 “Composites Affordability”

23rd April 2002 0 comments

The SAMPE 2002 Symposium being held at the Long Beach Convention Center May 12-16, 2002 will feature over 175 technical papers and on-site presentations. One of the current technology focus areas of interest within the advanced composites industry is that of ‘composites affordability.’ Composites Affordability Initiative technical sessions and papers were expanded for SAMPE 2002 because of the very high interest in this particular topic area and response from potential presenters and engineers working in this area of technology. In fact, three representative technical sessions on composites affordability and advanced manufacturing concepts were developed by Drs. John Russell and Frances Abrams of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB and Leonard Poveromo from Northrup Grumman. Sixteen (16) technical papers, representing about 10 percent of the SAMPE 2002 Symposium, make up the strong technical sessions contained in these areas of new technology.

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Development of Carbon-Nanotube Reinforced Composites

23rd April 2002 0 comments

The Missile Defense Agency has notified Composites-Consulting that it will receive Phase I Small Business Innovation Research funding. This project seeks to demonstrate feasibility of achieving revolutionary composite material mechanical properties by a new method of reinforcing thermoplastic polymer with Singe-Wall Carbon (SWC) Nanotubes. Incredible strength up to ~180 Gpa (26 Msi) and modulus on the order of 1.0 – 1.5 TPa (145 – 217 Msi) have been attributed to SWC Nanotubes. All attempts to translate these properties into a composite material have failed. Causes of failure have included rapid on-set of matrix thickening, entanglement and kinking of the Nanotubes, and roping or clumping together caused by extremely high van der Waals forces at the ends of the Nanotubes. The project seeks to overcome these limitations by employing a new proprietary method of combining SWC Nanotubes with a thermoplastic polymer. This new method is anticipated to enable higher loading of Nanotubes into a thermoplastic. Much more importantly, it is anticipated to correct problems that have prevented translation of SWC Nanotube properties into desired composite material mechanical performance. Expected result is a new class of composite material having revolutionary strength- and stiffness-to-weight compared with existing materials. Any structure destined to leave the ground is a potential candidate for applying a high temperature thermoplastic reinforced with Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes. Dramatically improved strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight material properties will enable structural designs exhibiting much lower structural weight. Much lower structural weight will enable significantly greater performance and payload delivery. While the cost of SWC Nanotubes remains high, initial applications should be expected for satellites, boosters, and single-stage-to-orbit vehicles. Industry efforts appear poised to achieve a production breakthrough that will significantly reduce their price. As production prices of the material decrease, subsequent applications should be expected for military aircraft. Applications eventually should be expected for commercial aircraft after sufficient volume-enabled price reductions are realized.

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Honeywell – Dunlop Team on Airbus A380-800

23rd April 2002 0 comments

Honeywell has been selected as the sole source supplier for aircraft wheels, brakes and support services in partnership with Dunlop Aerospace of the United Kingdom for the Airbus A380-800 Super Jumbo aircraft. The contract is valued at U.S.$1.5 billion over 25 years. Honeywell revenues estimated at $700 million over the life of the program. “”As the sole-source supplier, the Honeywell – Dunlop team will jointly develop the wheels and brakes and will utilize a new metal matrix composite material and high-density carbon to meet the significant weight reductions required for the Super Jumbo aircraft,”” said Roger Wolfe, Honeywell Aircraft Landing Systems Vice President & General Manager. “”Honeywell will design and manufacture the main wheels, piston housing, and some brake assembly components while Dunlop will be responsible for the nose wheels, carbon heatpack, and torque tube.”” Currently, 97 firm orders and commitments have been received by Airbus for the A380, with options for more. This selection marks the second significant aircraft program on which the Honeywell-Dunlop team will work jointly to develop wheels and brakes. In November, Honeywell, Dunlop and Crane Hydro-Aire won the contract to supply wheels, brakes and tires for Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

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