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Composites Industry News

News for August 2006


Araldite Adhesives Seal Composite Panels on Armoured Vehicles

7th August 2006 0 comments

Built specially to survive landmines, hostile fire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), armour-plated steel and laminated composite panels on Cougar specialty armoured vehicles are sealed during assembly with Araldite epoxy adhesive supplied by Huntsman Advanced Materials. The vehicles, which are able to hold as many as 12 passengers depending on configuration, are customized for multiple tasks including troop transport, mine and explosive ordnance disposal, command and control and as blast-protected ambulances. Araldite 2015 epoxy adhesive, which is suited for bonding a broad range of substrates, contributes to panel strength, durability, and resistance to degradation from temperature extremes and moisture. Production of the armoured panels that protect the centre/passenger portion of the Force Protection’s Cougar vehicle along with front and rear axles, radiator, fuel tanks and battery compartments is a multi-step process involving mechanical fastening as well as adhesive bonding. As technicians dispense a bead of mixed adhesive onto a substrate, it is spread with a putty knife and then panel sections are clamped together until the adhesive cures. Huntsman say that facilitating this process is the epoxy’s non-sag properties, 35-minute work life at room temperature, and rapid cure which permits panel handling after four hours at 77ºF (25ºC). Completed panels are then used to assemble final Cougar vehicles. After field experience with the mine-protected Cougar vehicles, Col. Mike Micucci sums up their performance saying, “There has never been a compromise in terms of the ballistic and armour integrity of the vehicle.”

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6th-Annual ACCE Conference Sports New Features

7th August 2006 0 comments

A number of changes have been made to help ensure that time spent at this year’s SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) provides even more value for attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, speakers, and media. The changes were detailed by Dale Brosius, ’06 ACCE conference chair, as well as executive director and chief-operating officer for Australian-based QuickStep Technologies Pty. Ltd. Brosius has been the conference vice-chair for the past 2 years. He replaced the previous ’06 conference chair, Terry Seagrave of Bayer MaterialsScience who stepped down last month. Dr. Frank Henning of the Fraunhofer Institut Chemische Technologie (ICT) in Germany is the new conference vice-chair. Changes that have been made to the 2006 ACCE program include: More Panel Discussions – Panel discussions are well attended at the ACCE show, so an additional one has been added this year. More Keynote Addresses – To help attendees gain a broader view of automotive composites or learn about emerging technologies and trends, 8 keynote speakers will address this year’s event. The exciting lineup and tentative presentation titles for this year’s event include: Return of SMC – After several years of low-visibility at ACCE, the SMC segment is back in force for this year’s conference. Tuesday will feature an all-day session of presentations on advancements in SMC materials, technologies, and applications. The session will end with a panel discussion on thermoset composites and a keynote address by Dr. Jeff Helms, Ford Motor Company, on New Developments in SMC. A Second Networking Reception – The ACCE’s annual evening cocktail reception has established itself as a great place to network, allowing speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, media, and attendees to meet and talk face-to-face. This year a second cocktail reception, sponsored by GE Plastics, has been added to increase networking opportunities. More Exhibit Space – One of the perennial problems the organizing committee has had is finding sufficient space for all the organizations wishing to exhibit at the ACCE conference. This year more exhibit space has been set aside than ever before and more sponsors and exhibitors have agreed to help support the conference. Automotive Composites – A Design & Manufacturing Guide – Updated for the first time in nearly a decade, Ray Publishing, Inc. – publisher of Composites Technology and High-Performance Composites magazines and a long-time sponsor of the ACCE – is providing each conference attendee with the second edition of its well-known and award-winning guide. The conference is expected to draw a broad offering of sponsors and exhibitors representing composite materials, processing equipment, additives and reinforcements, moulders, trade associations, and media headquartered in the Americas, Europe, and Asia/Pacific. This event provides an environment dedicated solely to discussion and networking about advances in the automotive composites industry – aspects sponsors indicate provide them genuine value. That is believed to be the reason the conference has a high repeat rate for exhibitors and sponsors from one year to the next. In fact, more than half of current sponsors have been with the event since the first year in 2001.

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Comtek File Second Low Cost Composites Manufacturing Initiative Patent Application

7th August 2006 0 comments

Comtek Advanced Structures has filed a second patent application related to its low cost composites manufacturing initiative. This new resin heating and curing system, code-named “”SmartCure”” has been developed in conjunction with the Institute for Aerospace Research, a division of the Canadian National Research Council. The SmartCure system has been developed for out-of-oven or out-of-autoclave processing of advanced composites and uses multi-zone in-tool and on-tool direct heating. The system is said to provide very accurate heating control for components with large variations in thickness and construction, ensuring that every area of the component is processed in an equal manner thus achieving extremely consistent material properties throughout, while minimizing thermal distortions. Accurate zonal control of the processing is achieved using a proprietary controller incorporating cure kinetics algorithms tailored to the specific material systems being used. The SmartCure system is a complementary technology to Comtek’s “”SmartFlow”” process for resin infusion, for which Comtek applied for patent protection last year. In typical aerospace applications, SmartFlow and SmartCure are integrated by Comtek in a complete resin infusion and cure control system to produce complex composite parts and assemblies at very low cost compared to conventional processing technology. Comtek say that the combined system is flexible, scalable and readily adaptable to a wide variety of resin formulations.

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New BigHead B20 Fastener Family

7th August 2006 0 comments

An all-new 20mm diameter BigHead, available in mild or 316 stainless steel has been launched in response to specific requests from a number of the company’s customers. The range is available with a variety of stud profiles and lengths as well as with female hexnuts or collars. Thread profiles range from M3 to M8, with stud lengths from 12mm to 100mm. Bighead say that the 20mm. diameter head that gives the new fastener its name produces a true multi-purpose fastening solution, already being incorporated into composites and metal fabrications for the Auto, Marine and Construction industries. The new BigHead is produced on the company’s latest twin-head auto welder.

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Composites Company Focusing on High-Volume Automotive Production

7th August 2006 0 comments

Caparo Vehicle Technologies has been formed to focus on high volume production of automotive components from advanced composites, predominantly carbon fibre.

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New Fire Retardant Polyester Resin System

7th August 2006 0 comments

A new Crystic 344A resin has been introduced by the Scott Bader Company to combine minimal burning characteristics with low smoke and toxic gas generation. This is a low viscosity amine accelerated polyester resin, both halogen and antimony free, which is used with a Crystic 344A aluminium trihydrate filler for the production of fire retardant laminates. These products are approved according to BS 6853, and IMO for use in many areas of mass transportation systems (buses, trains, boats and planes) both above and below ground and at sea, and also comply with BS 476 regulations for use in the building industry. Typical building applications include panelling and cladding, together with the production of modular bathrooms which extends uses into the hospital and general healthcare market, including residential and care homes. According to Scott Bader, Crystic 344A can be considered as an alternative to many traditional phenolic products, but has also been designed to be much easier to use than other resins. Maximum fire resistance is achieved with a filler to resin mixture in the ratio of 3:1. Application can be with conventional hand-lay techniques or using ‘chopper-gun’ spray equipment. The Crystic 344A filler is specially coated for ease of mixing and full dispersion within the resin, and includes a thixotropic additive to minimise filler separation. Only emulsion bound mat or woven glass reinforcements should be used, with a glass content of 20% by weight. Optimum mechanical and fire-retardant properties can be achieved with products post cured using both air drying and oven heated procedures. The image shows the housing of the Surelock rail points drive system by Ivensys-Westinghouse which has been manufactured by Brecknell Willis Ltd using the Scott Bader Crystic 344A polyester resin. The housing is lockable and flood resistant and can be used for metro or conventional trackside mounting.

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ATK to Produce Composite Fan Containment Cases for GEnx Engines

7th August 2006 0 comments

Alliant Techsystems has received a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract from General Electric to produce fan composite containment cases for its GEnx engine. The GEnx engine is designed to provide lower operating costs and greater fuel efficiency for the new Boeing 747-8. The five-year contract highlights ATK’s emerging role as a provider of large-scale composite components for aircraft engines. The GEnx engine is the world’s only jet engine that incorporates both a front fan composite containment case and composite fan blades. The new engine will reduce the aircraft’s weight, increase its payload capacity and extend its range. “ATK is a world-leader in the design, development and production of automated processes for large-diameter composite structures,” said Ray Bronson, Vice President and General Manager, ATK Space Systems and Sensors. “We’re proud to be selected by GE, and we look forward to expanding our role in the commercial aerospace marketplace.” The first ATK-fabricated GEnx fan composite containment case is scheduled for delivery in the spring of 2007. Design and production of the GEnx containment cases will begin immediately at ATK’s facilities in Clearfield, Utah.

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Dow Increases Epoxy Resin Prices

7th August 2006 0 comments

Dow will increase prices s for D.E.N. epoxy novolac resins and D.E.R. liquid, liquid blend, solid and solid solution epoxy resin products. The increases, effective from September 1, 2006, apply to North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India and Pakistan. North America: Prices will rise by $0.06 per pound for D.E.R. liquid, liquid blend, solid and solid solution epoxy resins and by $0.08 per pound for D.E.N. epoxy novolac resins. Europe: Prices will rise by €120 per metric ton for D.E.R. liquid, liquid blend, solid and solid solution epoxy resins and by €150 per metric ton for D.E.N. epoxy novolac resins. Middle East, Africa, India and Pakistan: Prices will rise by US$150 per metric ton for D.E.R. liquid, liquid blend, solid and solid solution epoxy resins and by US$180 per metric ton for D.E.N. epoxy novolac resins.

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NJIT Researchers Seed, Heat and Grow Carbon Nanotubes in Long Tubing

7th August 2006 0 comments

In less than 20 minutes, researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) can now seed, heat and grow carbon nanotubes in 10-foot-long, hollow thin steel tubing. “The work took us three years to develop and get right, but now we can essentially anchor nanotubes to a tubular wall. No one has ever done anything like this before,” said lead researcher Somenath Mitra, PhD, professor and acting chair of NJIT’s Dep’t of Chemistry and Environmental Science. Graduate and post-doctoral students who worked on the project are Mahesh Karwa, Chutarat Saridara and Roman Brukh. The discovery was recently described in the Journal of Material Chemistry, June 14, 2006, by Mitra and his team in “Selective Self-assembly of Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes in Long Steel Tubing for Chemical Separation.” Other journals featuring their work are Chemical Physics Letters and Carbon and Analytical Chemistry. Until recently researchers have relied on the nanotubes which researchers purchase as a powder. However, the method has drawbacks. “We have never been able to anchor the powder to a large surface, nor can we grow the nanotubes in a large device. Typically we could only produce them in minute amounts, if we used the powder substance,” said Mitra. Using a catalyst either prepared on the steel surface or enabled by a chemical deposition process, the NJIT inventors have created nanotubes which can stick to the walls of narrow or wide tubes. And, they can grow considerably larger amounts of them, making the process more attractive and viable for industrial usages.

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SMC Replaces Steel and Concrete in the Building Industry

7th August 2006 0 comments

Two new products introduced by Mitras Composites have illustrated the potential for SMC in the construction industry as an alternative to traditional materials such as concrete and steel. The products demonstrate the lightness of SMC compared to both other materials, as well asthe material’s stability and durability. The fibre reinforced SMC (Sheet Moulding Compound) for these applications was developed and supplied by Polynt GmbH (formerly Lonza Compounds), a German SMC manufacturer and one of the founding members of the European Alliance for SMC/BMC. The first new product is a trench cover for use during streetworks to allow pedestrian and private vehicle access over trenches in pavements and pathways. The Trench Cover is a slip resistant cover measuring 1195mm x 795 mm, with anchor points in each corner. It is made from glass-reinforced composite material, strengthened by the inclusion of steel mesh reinforcement. The size means it can span a trench with a maximum width of 700mm when laid longitudinally across the trench. The cover is designed to withstand a maximum vehicle weight of 2000kg, evenly distributed, with a single load per wheel maximum of 500kg. This has been verified by an independent test house showing a safety margin of 4x design load. The materials used in the construction of the trench cover result in minimal deflection at the design load, and a permanent set of zero. The second new product is a composite access chamber system to allow access to underground systems such as meters, valves, and connections. Traditionally these items have been made from concrete, which require lifting equipment and have strength issues during transportation, or thermoplastics, which require concrete back-up after installation as a result of their flexibility. The system consists of bolt-together panels that form sections that can be stacked to give the desired depth. The panels are available in a selection of lengths and are bolted together in the corners to give a huge range of available sizes. If necessary, the panels can be cut and joined to give any desired size of chamber. The chambers are delivered to site either in panel form, and then assembled, or as ready made sections which are then stacked together. Because they are made from SMC, the sections are very rigid, so do not need any reinforcement and can be back-filled immediately. The low weight compared with concrete mean that they can be installed by one man without the need for lifting equipment. The sections can be drilled on-site for duct and service entry points. SMC is also increasingly being used for access covers to complement the chambers. The chambers are already in use in Sweden, Denmark and the UK, and are being used in telecommunications and water, gas and electric utility companies.

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