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Composites Industry News

News for December 2006


Diab to Double US Foam Capacity

3rd December 2006 0 comments

Diab has added resources in property, plant and equipment with the goal of doubling Divinycell foam capacity by May 2007. The company has invested millions in product re-formulations, equipment additions and modifications and plant space at DeSoto in order to reach this goal. For example, the extensive re-formulation of Divinycell H grade has improved its mechanical properties as well as resulting in more efficient production. The experiences learned in modifying H grade are being applied to the manufacture of Divinycell HP and Divinycell HT. Both products are temperature resistant foam cores designed to be processed at temperatures up to 138degC (280degF) with various prepreg systems. In January 2007 Diab’s recently expanded kit line will also come on-stream, increasing the capacity and capability of fabricating Divinycell into customer specified shapes. Diab had already added new production space in September 2006 and since then has leased additional office and manufacturing space.

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Expansion of Ahlstrom Glassfibre’s Mikkeli Plant Completed

3rd December 2006 0 comments

Ahlstrom has expanded the production capacity of its Mikkeli plant in Finland, the EUR 5 million investment consisting of an additional building and new machinery. The Mikkeli plant manufactures glass fibre products for composite industry, the major end users being wind energy, marine, sports equipment, and transport vehicle industries. 95% of the plant’s production is exported, mainly to European countries. Ahlstrom significantly increased the production capacity of the Mikkeli plant during 2005-2006. The expansion, together with improved production efficiency, will enable Ahlstrom to further increase production capacity by up to 50% within the next few years. In addition to new machinery, the new building includes storage capacity for raw materials and finished goods, which is expected to bring cost savings. The maintenance area, staff rooms, and conference rooms will also be renovated within the next few months. “”In recent years, we have been able to strengthen our global market share as a specialty reinforcement supplier, especially in wind energy and marine industries. Our target is to continue profitable growth at a rate that exceeds the market average. The investment in Mikkeli will support this objective””, said Tommi Björnman, Senior Vice President, Glass Nonwovens.

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Teijin Twaron to Expand Capacity Again

3rd December 2006 0 comments

Teijin Limited and Teijin Twaron will be increasing capacity for the fourth time in the six years, the latest expansion again increasing Twaron production capacity by approximately 15%.

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Ashland Expands Production to Better Serve Eastern Europe

3rd December 2006 0 comments

An expansion that has doubled production capacity of Enguard bonding paste at Ashland’s Miszewo, Gdansk, Poland, facility will serve the growing demand for this product in Europe. The additional capacity from Ashland Composite Polymers follows a recent expansion of Dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) resin production at Ashland’s Porvoo, Finland, facility. “Ashland is a market leader in the Polish, Russian and Eastern European markets, and by investing in this new Enguard bonding paste and Aropol DCPD resin capability, Ashland shows strong commitment to the growing Central and Eastern European markets,” said Mikko Suomalainen, regional sales manager. “This expansion builds upon what Ashland has already done in the area by offering high quality polyester resins, DCPD resins, Maxguard low styrene emission gelcoats and now Enguard bonding pastes with high mechanical properties.” Enguard bonding paste is used to join boat hulls with their decks during production and for various other composite applications where strong quality adhesion is required.

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UK Students Selected for SAMPE Prize

3rd December 2006 0 comments

Two UK students have been selected to go forward to the SAMPE European Student Seminar (prior to and during the SAMPE Conference/JEC Exhibition) to be held in Paris during April 2007. The UK and Ireland Chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering (SAMPE), in collaboration with the Composites Division of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), held their Annual Student Seminar on Monday 20 November 2006 at IOM3 HQ in London. Eight students representing seven universities took part. Each gave an interesting well-presented talk on their respective research project. The presentations ranged from chitosan/ATP htdrogels and the electrical properties of filled rubber through minimisation of prepreg waste to the Quickstep process and optimised tow placement. Two students were selected to go forward to the European Student Seminar (prior to and during the SAMPE Conference/JEC Exhibition) to be held in Paris during April 2007. Dino Konstantis (University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, left) who presented Structural Behaviour of Composite Sandwich Panels in Fire with and without Fire Protection, and Paul Williamson (University of Nottingham, right) who presented Development of a Novel Multi Material Energy Absorber for Improved Pedestrian Protection. The third place (reserve for the Paris meeting) was awarded to Adrian Gill ((Imperial College, centre) who presented Effect of RTM Defects on Mode I Delamination Behaviour of 5HS Woven Composites

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Solvin Launches Vinyl Nanocomposite

3rd December 2006 0 comments

Solvay’s vinyls joint venture in Europe, SolVin, is launching NanoVin, a nanocomposite combining polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and nanoparticles of clay. NanoVin is designed for PVC paste applications, which require non-dripping and shear-thinning properties, such as bodywork in the automotive industry as well as thick coatings, such as artificial leather. According to Solvay, this specialty product displays exceptional properties in terms of plasticity, viscosity and flow. NanoVin was developed at Solvay Research & Technology, the Group’s R&D campus in Neder-over-Heembeek (Belgium). The product is now entering into a pre-commercial phase, with a pilot production unit located in Jemeppe (Belgium). “Research and innovation are feeding Solvay’s strategy of sustainable and profitable growth,” commented Michel Tchapian, Paste PVC Business Manager. “We succeeded in creating a smart material that opens up new commercial opportunities, thanks to our work on the combination of vinyl with nanoparticles of clay,” he said.

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NaturalNano to Introduce Nanocomposite Additive to the Polymer Composite Market

3rd December 2006 0 comments

NaturalNano has introduced its new Pleximer nanocomposite additive, which it plans to offer commercially in the fourth quarter of 2007. Pleximer additives consist of halloysite clay nanotubes concentrated and mixed with polymer materials using the Company’s proprietary process, which NaturalNano says enables stronger, lighter materials for the polymer composite industry. “We believe the advantage of the Pleximer additive is that it will allow composite manufacturers to produce affordable nanocomposites for the first time. The nanocomposite market segment is estimated to more than double in size in the next four years. However, many manufacturers to date have been unable to produce nanocomposites because of the necessary up-front investment in expensive, specialized equipment and the complex chemistries involved in the process,” stated Cathy Fleischer, PhD, President and CTO of NaturalNano. “Pleximer can be used with standard processes and equipment and provides a stronger, lighter, and more uniform output. We believe this could greatly increase the number of manufacturers capable of participating in this fast growing industry,” Dr. Fleischer noted. “We’re reducing barriers to entry into this multi-billion dollar market. We are very excited to be introducing a leadership product into the polymer composites industry.”

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University of Cincinnati Researchers Grow Their Longest Carbon Nanotube Ever

3rd December 2006 0 comments

In conjunction with First Nano (FN), a division of CVD Equipment Corporation, University of Cincinnati Researchers have grown an array on FN’s EasyTube Carbon Nanotube system that is longer than 7 mm. “The harmonious combination of substrate, alloy catalyst and process conditions was found to consistently produce nanotube arrays more than 7 mm long” says Professor Vesselin Shanov, co-director of Smart Materials Nanotechnology Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati (UC). In recognition for its commitment to nanotechnology education at both the graduate and undergraduate level, UC is ranked #2 in the United States for nanotechnology education by Small Times magazine. “First Nano and UC have collaborated in the past and are planning on future collaboration to scale up production of nanotube arrays for applications that man has only dreamed of, like a super-strong cable for a space elevator and featherweight composite materials for sporting goods, aircraft structures, armour and many more uses.” The recent breakthroughs at the University of Cincinnati and CVD Equipment Corporation (of Ronkonkoma, New York), have led to the growth of large carbon nanotube arrays. While individual carbon nanotubes are only 20 billionths of a metre in diameter, the array of carbon nanotubes grow as millimetre-long dense forests on centimetre-wide substrates. Years of research by UC’s Shanov, Schulz and students Andrew Gorton and Yun YeoHeung led to the invention of the method for growing the large nanotube arrays. Researchers and engineers at CVD Equipment Corporation developed and built the equipment used to grow the large carbon nanotube arrays.

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P80 Composite Motor Test at Kourou

3rd December 2006 0 comments

On 30 November, the P80 motor which is to power Vega’s first stage underwent its maiden static firing on the same test pad used to demonstrate Ariane 5’s solid booster stages in Kourou, French Guiana. The Solid Booster Test Bench (BEAP) is the unique test pad at the Guiana Space Centre, Europe’s Spaceport. Since 1993, it has seen the successful testing of Ariane 5 Solid Booster Stage (EAP) motors. Recently, the BEAP has been modified in order to accommodate a different kind of booster for static firing. While it shares its three metre diameter with Ariane 5’s booster stages, the P80 motor is much shorter than the 31.2-metre-tall EAP – it is only 11.7 metres high. Nevertheless, it is the largest European solid rocket motor of its kind. The most obvious change is to the booster casing. It is made of filament wound graphite epoxy, a technology largely used on smaller motors for civilian launchers as well as ballistic missiles. Much lighter than the stainless steel currently used on Ariane boosters, it provides a dramatic increase in payload capacity. Other improvements in the motor include a new design of igniter with a simplified architecture, also using a carbon-fibre case. The P80 is not simply the new motor developed for the first stage of ESA’s Vega small launch vehicle. It is a multidisciplinary demonstrator to validate advanced technologies which could later be applied to Ariane 5’s boosters. “There are lots of challenges on this test”, says Stefano Bianchi Vega Programme Manager at ESA. “As on every maiden firing, there is also a lot to learn.”

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Concordia Celebrated for Expertise in Aerospace Research

3rd December 2006 0 comments

Delastek and Concordia’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering came away from this year’s ADRIQ (Association de la recherche industrielle du Québec) 2006 Prix Innovation awards, with the Prix Partenariat. The Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ) sponsored research project for which they were honoured involved the participation of Ecole Polytechnique, Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Inc, and Pratt and Whitney Canada. The award winning CRIAQ project was an integral part of a much larger 2.2 million dollar research program which relied on the expertise of collaborators from the National Research Council’s Institute for Aerospace Research and Defense Research Establishment at Val Cartier. In addition to realizing groundbreaking results in the fabrication of load-bearing components for aerospace industry applications, the partners’ synergistic efforts have provided training in composite technology for students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates and assistants. A Synergy Award for Innovation was also recently presented to Concordia University and Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Ltd for their work related to Composite technology for aerospace applications.

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