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Composites Industry News

News for July 2002


World Market For Technical Textiles 50% Bigger Than Previously Estimated

8th July 2002 0 comments

In a recent report published by David Rigby Associates (DRA) the world market for technical textiles and industrial nonwovens is estimated to have been 16.7mn. tonnes in 2000 which is almost 50% greater than the 11.3mn. tonnes forecast in DRA’s 1997 report on the same market. This is the result of more technical textile products being included, particularly in agricultural, building, clothing and sports-related applications, the recognition of more jute products and an improved understanding of the market situation in China. The report forecasts that the world market for technical textiles and industrial nonwovens will increase by 3.5% per year in volume terms to reach 23.8 mn. tonnes with a value of $126 bn. by 2010. However, growth between 2000 and 2002 is estimated at only 2.1% due to world economic conditions. The largest application areas by value are transport, industrial and sports-related products. The fastest growing sectors up to 2004 are building/construction, geotextiles, medical/hygiene and products used in industry. By 2010, man-made fibres will have increased their share of usage in the sector from 77% to 81%. The main loser will be cotton. The use of woodpulp will grow strongly from a low base. Up to 2010, nonwovens will increase their share of fabric usage by weight from 31% to 39% largely at the expense of woven fabrics, whose share will decrease from 60% to 53%. There will be a stronger than average growth in loose fibre applications including fibrefill, while twisted products such as ropes, braids and nets will grow more slowly overall. Market growth will be strongest in Asia, which will account for 45% of the market by weight in 2010 compared with 23% for Europe and 29% for the Americas.

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Abaris Training New Metal-Bond and Complex Repair Courses

8th July 2002 0 comments

Abaris Training recently completed 2 weeks of classes at Qantas Airlines (Sydney, Australia) in response to the airline’s request for Boeing-specific training in metal-bonded repair procedures. “Airlines today are operating a variety of different aircraft,” explains Carl Cradick, Senior Technical Officer for Qantas. “Each manufacturer specifies their own procedures for bonded aluminum and composite structural repair, creating a need for our workforce to stay on-top of proper materials and techniques.” To meet this need, Abaris modified the content of its course Repair of Bonded Aluminum Structures to deliver Boeing-specific information, and traveled to Qantas’ facility, providing training for and interaction with Qantas mechanics and engineers regarding the repair problems they face on the specific aircraft and parts they see the most. “This ‘metal-bonding’ class is a new development from our Adhesive Bonding of Composites course,” explains Mike Hoke, President of Abaris Training. “The basics of achieving successful adhesive bonds are the same whether the surface is composites or aluminum. Our customers were demanding more detail specifically on the numerous surface prep methods for aluminum. We responded with Repair of Bonded Aluminum Structures, which not only covers the pros and cons of methods like PACS, PANTA and the new Sol-Gel process developed by Boeing, but also explores which methods have been proven to supply long-term durability.” The course emphasizes hands-on learning via the building of wedge test panels, destructive testing and analysis, as well as newer preparation and repair methods that not only give better results but also are more environmentally-friendly and easier to perform. Abaris Training will be back in Australia later this summer to deliver 4 weeks of courses to meet Qantas’ need for Airbus-specific training. A combined set of courses based on Advanced Composite Structures: Fabrication and Damage Repair: Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3, will be tailored to cover Airbus specified materials and processes, with each phase providing an increased level of hands-on training in manufacturing, repair and tooling. The Phase 3 class offers a new, advanced concentration in hands-on student workshops, featuring challenging damage assessment, larger and more complex repair scenarios, fabrication of composite repair tooling and restoration of contoured surfaces, fasteners and edge-band integrity. Students also gain experience in advanced “hot-bonder” techniques using not only heat blankets, but heat lamps, hot-air machines and other heating devices. Abaris Training specializes in hands-on training of advanced composite technology, training over 7,500 students since 1983 at its Reno, Nevada and Griffin, Georgia (near Atlanta) facilities and in customer locations worldwide.

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Chemists Make First Boron Nanowhiskers

8th July 2002 0 comments

Graduate student Carolyn Jones Otten, her advisor William. E. Buhro, Ph.D., Washington University professor of chemistry, and their collaborators report that they have made boron nanowhiskers by chemical vapor deposition. The particles have diameters in the range of 20 to 200 nanometers and the whiskers (also called nanowires) are semiconducting and show properties of elemental boron. In the nano-world, the carbon nanotube is king, considered the particle most likely to make new materials, and increasingly valued as potential metallic conductors in the burgeoning experimental world of molecular electronics. However, carbon has its limitations: its cell wall structure and variable conductivity make it unreliable as a conductor–only one-third of those grown have metallic characteristics; the others are semiconductors. And one specific type can’t predictably be grown; instead, a mix of types is grown together. The Buhro group at Washington University in St. Louis turned to boron, one spot to the left of carbon in the periodic table, to see if it would be a good candidate. If nanotubes could be made of boron and produced in large quantities, they should have the advantage of having consistent properties despite individual variation in diameter and wall structure. The discovery that the nanowhiskers are semiconducting make them promising candidates for nanoscale electronic wires. “”The theoretical papers predicted that boron nanotubes may exist and if they do, should have consistent electrical properties regardless of their helicity. This would be a distinct advantage over carbon nanotubes,”” said Otten. “”So, we set out to make these. We had already done some work on boron nitride nanotubes, which are similar in structure to carbon nanotubes but they are electrically insulating. So, we used a similar method to try to make boron nanotubes. We grew things that looked very promising–long thin wire-like structures. At first we thought they were hollow, but after closer examination, we determined that they were dense whiskers, not hollow nanotubes. “” The notion of boron nanotubes creates more excitement in nanotechnology than nanowhiskers because of their unique structure, which could be likened to a distinct form of an element. Carbon, for instance, is present as graphite and diamond, and, recently discovered, in “”buckyball”” and nanotube conformations. Also, boron nanotubes are predicted by theory to have very high conductivity, something groups like Buhro’s are eager to measure . The nanowhiskers made by Buhro’s group were electrically characterized to see if they were good conductors despite being whiskers rather than tubes. They were found to exhibit semiconducting behavior. However, bulk boron can be “”doped”” with other atoms to increase its conductivity.. Otten, Buhro and their collaborators are now working on trying to do the same thing with boron nanowhiskers to increase their conductivity. Carbon nanotubes have been doped, as have various other kinds of nanowires, and assembled in combinations of conducting and semiconducting ones to make for several different microscale electronic components such as rectifiers, field-effect transistors and diodes. “”Now we’re trying to dope our boron nano-whiskers to see if we can increase their conductivity,”” Otten said. “”We would still be interested in discovering boron nanotubes, but we’re just not quite sure how to make them.”” Since the early 90s Buhro and his group have been making many kinds of nanowires and nanotubes that might ultimately be incorporated into nanoelectronic devices. Nanowires and nanotubes are receiving much current attention as potential transistors, wires, and switches for ultra-small circuits and devices to be built from them on almost a molecular scale. “”If you want to make electronics smaller and smaller, you have to make the component devices and the wires that interconnect them smaller and smaller,”” Buhro said. “”We are trying to build the scientific infrastructure for electronic nanotechnology, and to understand the basic principles involved. We have to find out how these nano-wires work and how to connect them into circuits and functional devices. Even when we have that, nobody yet knows how a computer chip will be made that uses these things. That is a wide-open, unsolved problem. But the fundamental science to be done is potentially important and is going to be very fun.””

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Luxury Boats Still in Strong Demand Despite Economy

8th July 2002 0 comments

Despite the sagging economy, demand for the luxury boats built by The Hinckley Company here is stronger than ever, according to company officials. Emblematic of the trend is the Sou’wester(R) 70 sailboat named Patriot that the 75-year-old American yacht builder lauched just in time for the July 4 holiday. Painted red, white and flag blue, the multimillion-dollar, all-American yacht was ordered 18 months ago and construction proceeded even with dire predictions about the nation’s economy going into a long slump. Hinckley also sold three other Sou’wester 70 sailboats during this time period. Demand for Hinckley’s new line of Talaria(R) 29 jet boats has also “”far exceeded”” expectations given the current economy, according to Ralph Willard, president and CEO of Hinckley. The 29-foot yachts combine classic wooden boat styling with a high-tech construction, including a Kevlar(R) hull, water-jet propulsion and computerized JetStick(R) handling. The company has sold nearly 30 of the boats — which cost more than most homes — since the new model was introduced last winter. Other sailboats and jet boats built by the venerable Maine boatyard also continue to sell well, Mr. Willard said. The company’s trend-setting 36-foot Picnic Boat(R), for example, has proven popular in waters around the world, including New England, the southern states, Caribbean and Great Lakes. Patriot is a shining example of the American craftsmanship and design work of The Hinckley Company, which has been building yachts in Maine since 1928. The 70-foot center cockpit sailboat, which has three staterooms, three full heads, separate crew quarters and a bevy of other amenities, is reminiscent of yachts built a century ago. It combines a teak deck, cabin and pilothouse with solid cherry cabinetry and old-style library bookshelves throughout. The all-American theme is carried throughout the interior of the craft with plush upholstery depicting George Washington and other Founding Fathers, along with plenty of stars and stripes. All this traditional look belies the fact that the yacht is built with the latest technology, including Hinckley’s patented DualGuard(R) composite construction. DualGuard hulls use Kevlar for the outer skin, sound-absorbing balsa in the core and super-stiff, super-strong carbon for the inner skin. The boat also houses the most advanced water making, communications and navigational equipment.

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GKN Wins US$600M Contract For Airbus A380 Wing Parts

8th July 2002 0 comments

GKN PLC’s Aerospace Services division has won the Airbus UK contract for the design and manufacture of the Wing Trailing Edge panels for the Airbus A380 Superjumbo, valuing the deal at US$600M over the expected aircraft life of the programme. GKN Aerospace Services is already involved in the design of the important midbox structure for the A380 wing and the manufacture of the composite flap track beams that are also structural wing components. The latest award brings the total estimated value of work secured by GKN on the A380 to more than 800 mln usd, the company said. Design of the panels will be undertaken in Bristol and Cowes in the UK and manufacture in Cowes and in Alabama in the US, both operations of which already produce wing components for other Airbus aircraft.

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European expansion for Uralita

8th July 2002 0 comments

Spanish construction and chemicals group Uralita yesterday announced that it has plans for European expansion via strategic alliances or acquisitions. Last year, the group also invested in a new fiberglass production plant in the French department of Lorraine, in the concrete roof tile manufacturing plant of Itu, in Brazil, and in the acquisition of Portugal’s pottery specialist Ceramica San Francisco.

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India approves 42 foreign investment proposals worth 2.18 bln rupees

8th July 2002 0 comments

Commerce Minister Murasoli Maran approved 42 foreign investments proposals in India worth 2.18 bln rupees. The proposals include one from Mauritius-based Rama Mines which seeks approval for investment of 500 mln rupees for setting up a wholly-owned mining exploration company. The government also approved the proposal of French firm Aldes Aeraulique for investing 250 mln rupees for a local subsidiary dealing in air diffusion, quality and management services. US-based Owens Corning Co, which makes fibre glass, was allowed to increase its stake in a domestic subsidiary to 72 pct from 61 pct by investing 73.5 mln rupees. Franklin Templeton Asset management company also got an approval for acquiring 100 pct of domestic firm Pioneer ITI.

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Thomas Wardell Named Vice President for Manufacturing

8th July 2002 0 comments

Aurora Flight Sciences has named Thomas Wardell as its Vice President for Manufacturing. Wardell joins Aurora from Alliant Tech Systems (ATK), where he was in charge of composites at their Iuka, Mississippi plant. In this capacity, he was responsible for Engineering, Operations, Quality, and Scheduling for ATK’s portion of the Delta rocket program. From 1989 through 2000 he was employed by R-Cubed Composites in Utah, where he held a series of positions of increasing responsibility as Program Manager, Director of Engineering and Operations (1995-97), and then President and General Manager (1997-2000). R- Cubed was sold to Composite Optics in 2000. Wardell has also worked as a Procurement Engineer for the Hewlett-Packard Company and as a Materials and Process Engineer for Thiokol Corporation, where he worked on the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motors. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Utah State University. “”With the rapid growth of composites production programs such as Global Hawk, it was essential for Aurora to have a strong and experienced leader for our production operations,”” said Aurora President John Langford. “”Thom Wardell is a respected industry leader and we are delighted to have him joining our team in West Virginia.””

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EuroPAM 2002

8th July 2002 0 comments

EuroPAM 2002, ESI’s 12th European conference on numerical simulation will take place October 21-22, 2002 at the Antibes Congress Center on the French Riviera.

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Business Award For SP’S SPRINT Technology

8th July 2002 0 comments

The Hampshire Business Awards have awarded SP’s SPRINT technology the ‘Bond Pearce Business Award for Innovation’. In this UK regional award competition, SPRINT technology was cited as one of SP’s most innovative developments over the past couple of years, and SP’s ongoing commitment to developing affordable composite products for the wind-energy industry was also identified by the panel of judges. SPRINT has already won three other innovation and technology awards and is widely recognized as a key technology for the construction of the wind turbine blades of the future. SPRINT is manufactured on two custom-built production lines, one on the Isle of Wight and the other at SP’s plant in Spain. SPRINT is also used in applications in both the automotive and marine industries, and has been proven to reduce production time and materials costs for customers fabricating lightweight composite components. SPRINT materials consist of dry fibre reinforcements, into which a thin precatalysed resin film has been inserted. When a vacuum bag is applied, the dry reinforcement provides a path for air to be extracted from the material – from between the SPRINT layers and from the mould surface. During the heat cure cycle the resin film softens, flows into the air-free reinforcement and yields a composite component with high fibre content, very low voids and excellent surface finish.

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