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Composites Industry News

News for May 2006


Premix Thermoplastics Introduces New EMI Shielding Compounds

5th May 2006 0 comments

Premix Thermoplastics, Inc., a custom compounder of electrically conductive thermoplastic compounds, has introduced a full line of EMI shielding compounds for electronic enclosures called PRE-ELEC EMI. These new products complete Premix¹s line of EMI shielding compounds for the complete electronics enclosure. Premix says that it has, or can develop, specialty compounds to solve EMI problems in most electronics enclosures. PRE-ELEC EMI compounds utilize stainless steel fibres, carbon fibres, or nickel coated carbon fibres to provide EMI shielding capability. Presently these compounds are available in PP, ABS, POM, PC, PBT, PA-6, PA-66, PPS, PSul, PES and PEEK. Other polymer systems that contain these conductive additives are TPU¹s, and various fluoropolymers. Compounds using carbon fibres or nickel coated carbon fibre additives are available only in fully compounded forms. Compounds containing 30% carbon fibre additives can provide >30 dB electromagnetic interference attenuation. At 40% carbon fibre, it is possible to achieve >40 dB shielding effectiveness (SE), and at 50% carbon fibre >50 dB SE can be obtained. Nickel coated carbon fibres can be effective with as little as 15% in the compound, and they can provide upwards of 90 dB shielding effectiveness at higher loadings. Premix Thermoplastics, Inc. is a subsidiary of Premix Oy, a major manufacturer of electrically conductive compounds in Europe.

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SAMPE ’06 Draws Crowds to Long Beach

5th May 2006 0 comments

SAMPE ‘06, the materials and processing industry conference and exhibition, ended this week at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, CA. Nearly 4,300 material & processing industry professionals attended the 12 tutorials, and 250 papers presented in sessions or participated in the exhibition featuring over 230 exhibitors. According to SAMPE, the exhibitors were particularly pleased with the floor traffic and large crowds were present for the 9th annual Super Lightweight Composite Bridge Building Contest and the 2nd annual Composite Wing Contest. 51 teams of students competed in the bridge contest and 18 teams entered the wing competition. The Dan Guerney All American race car, lightning strike panels and Samsonite X’lite luggage, all products made from composites, were also a hit. Dr. Tia Benson Tolle, Structural Materials Branch Chief, Air Force Research Lab, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, OH, and SAMPE International President said, “We are very, very pleased with the responses we have received from our attendees, speakers and exhibitors.” SAMPE ’06 drew delegates from 48 states, the District of Columbia and 33 countries including China, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Czech Republic, Hungary and New Zealand. On Monday, May 1, SAMPE inducted five new SAMPE Fellows. Dr. Ever J. Barbero, Dr. Lawrence T. Drzal, Dr. John C. Halpin, Dr. Ray L. Hauser and Dr. Keith T. Kedward were recognized for their leadership, passion and vision in the field of material and process engineering. SAMPE ’07 will be sponsored by SAMPE’s Baltimore / Washington Chapter. The conference dates are June 3 – 7, 2007 and the exhibition dates are June 5 – 7, 2007. The program will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center. And, SAMPE ’07 will also mark the 25th anniversary of SAMPE’s Fellows Program. “Long Beach is a great location for SAMPE,” said Gregg Balko, CAE, SAMPE’s Executive Director. “At the same time, we are excited about next year’s event in Baltimore. The high concentration of materials and processing activity on the Eastern seaboard and Baltimore’s proximity too many key decision makers in the Washington, D.C. area make this a logical destination for SAMPE ‘07. As of yesterday, over 100 companies have reserved their exhibit space for Baltimore, a record number of pre-bookings for any SAMPE exhibition,” Balko stated.

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Striebig Saw Cuts through GRP Gratings

5th May 2006 0 comments

A fully-automatic Striebig Control vertical panel saw is has been installed at GRP gratings specialist, Sui Generis International Ltd, of Colchester. Used in a wide variety of industrial applications, the gratings are produced at another of the company’s facilities. They come in three sizes; 3.66m x 1.22m, 3m x 1m and 2m x 1m; either 25mm, 38.5mm or 53mm thick and weighing between 56 and 125 kilo. After being unloaded on pallets they are fork lifted into the trim shop where they are hoisted singly on to the saw. The Striebig cuts them into sections as required by customers. This usually means ensuring they weigh less than 25 kilos each so as to meet Manual Handling regulations that allow one man to lift items up to that weight. Sui Generis’s Control model 5168 can handle panels up to a maximum size of 4,300m x 1,680m and has a depth of cut of 80mm. Numerous automatic procedures can be carried out by the press of a button including locking and releasing the beam saw, setting the horizontal cutting height, plunging and swivelling the motor, locking the support rollers during sawing and fine saw blade adjustment. It features the TRK dust and chips extraction system that ensures dust levels are kept well below permitted European limits, plus automatic moving backing support. A diamond-coated blade is used to cut through the GRP. It is claimed that the saw has improved cutting performance by ensuring tighter tolerances – it works to an accuracy of 0.1mm – and reducing cutting times, with the cost savings passed on to customers. It has also improved the operators’ working life by eliminating the fatigue previously caused by using a non-automatic saw. Sui Generis International’s director, Mark Went said: “”When investing in a new saw it was essential that not only would it give improved performance, reducing working times, but that it improved our health and safety and the working conditions of our employees. The Control has surpassed all our expectations. It’s rugged, easy-to-use, with excellent inbuilt extraction.””

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FiberCote Industries Cheanges Name to Nelcote

5th May 2006 0 comments

Park Electrochemical Corp. has changed the name of its advanced composite materials business from FiberCote Industries, Inc to Nelcote, Inc. Consistent with this name change, Park’s advanced composite materials product line will now be sold under the Nelcote trade name. Brian Shore, Park’s President and CEO, said, “”We chose the new Nelcote name to signify the unification of the Park Electrochemical Advanced Materials businesses and product lines under the Nelco, Neltec and now Nelcote names. This name change is also intended to signify that we are placing the full weight of Park Electrochemical Corp. and its resources into the development of our Nelcote advanced composite materials product line and business principally for aerospace applications. Our Nelcote product line and business are now central and integral parts of our global Advanced Material business.””

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Owens Corning Completes Asahi Acquisition

5th May 2006 0 comments

Owens Corning has completed its acquisition of the composites business of Asahi Fiber Glass Co in Japan, previously reported in December. “”The addition of composite and glass-fibre manufacturing in Japan allows Owens Corning to deliver more value to more customers around the world,”” said Chuck Dana, president – Composite Solutions Business. “”The products manufactured at this facility will support our global growth by delivering a broader range of composite solutions for the consumer and electrical, building and construction, and infrastructure markets.”” The acquisition expands Owens Corning’s product portfolio to include reinforcements for high-performance thermoplastics such as Liquid Crystaline Polymer (LCP), Polyphenylene Sulfide (PPS) and Polyphenylene Oxide (PPO) polymer products. These composite products are used in applications where high performance is required. The company’s portfolio also includes long-fibre thermoplastic compounds for the Asia Pacific market used in light-weight and semi-structural applications, sheet moulding compounds for the Japanese market and rubber-coated glass-fibre used in engine timing belts for the automotive industry.

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ATK Composite Structures Support Study of Clouds

5th May 2006 0 comments

Alliant Techsystems composite technologies supported last week’s successful launch of a Boeing Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The launch successfully placed the NASA satellites CloudSat and CALIPSO into orbit. As elements of both satellites, ATK composite structures will help scientists gather information on air quality and long-term climate issues. An ATK-built antenna on CloudSat will collect radar pulses reflected from clouds to map their 3-D structure and ice/water composition for a better understanding of their effects on earth’s climate. The CALIPSO instrument structure, fabricated by ATK, supports key satellite instruments, such as the telescope, star tracker, wide field camera, and shade assembly, all of which aid in precise measurement of aerosol distribution and transport around the world.

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Sisecam Introduces New E-Glass Single End Roving

5th May 2006 0 comments

Sisecam has introduced a new single end roving – WR5 – to the composites market.

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Dual Properties of Carbon Nanotubes Revealed

5th May 2006 0 comments

For the first time, researchers have directly measured the electronic structure of individual carbon nanotubes whose physical properties had already been determined. This new study, pioneered by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory working with their colleagues at Columbia University, may help scientists determine the usefulness of carbon nanotubes in various applications, from microelectronics to mechanical, thermal, and photovoltaic devices. The researchers report on their work in the April 28 issue of Science. “This combined study technique allows us — for the first time — to test some fundamental predictions about nanotube behavior,” said Matt Sfeir, a physicist in Brookhaven’s Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Sciences Division and lead author of the study. “Understanding how these materials function on a basic level is key to controlling and manipulating them for future successful commercial applications.” Carbon nanotubes are capsule-shaped molecules only a few billionths of a meter (nanometers) in width. In nanotube form, many materials take on useful, unique properties, such as physical strength and excellent conductivity. Single-walled carbon nanotubes are the most widely investigated variety, but what makes them so interesting also makes them very difficult to study — several hundred distinct species exist, and each has dramatically different electronic properties thought to be linked to their unique individual structure. Sfeir and his colleagues sought to look at both the structure of carbon nanotubes and their corresponding electronic properties using two existing techniques. The twist is that the two techniques would be used on each of the nanotubes studied, giving the researchers a complete picture of their unique structure and behavior as well as greater knowledge about how they “transition” from semi-conducting to metallic in terms of their electronic properties. The work started at Columbia, where the single-walled carbon nanotubes were grown freely suspended over a slit etched into a silicon substrate. The researchers then identified usable individual nanotubes, labeled them, and studied them with a technique known as resonance Rayleigh scattering. This method allows researchers to detect the optical spectrum of light scattered from the nanotubes and use that scattered light to determine their electronic structure. “The optical spectra alone, however, does not give us sufficient information to absolutely assign electronic transitions to the nanotubes’ physical structure,” said Sfeir. “We needed a technique that could provide independent structural verification. Fortunately, our colleagues in the electron microscopy group at Brookhaven were interested in this problem as well and were able to provide a solution – electron diffraction.” The labeled nanotubes were brought to Brookhaven, where physicist Tobias Beetz subjected them to electron diffraction studies using an electron microscope. This gave the researchers complementary data on the nanotubes’ physical structure. “Electron diffraction is an ideal tool for determining the exact structure of metallic and semiconducting nanotubes,” said Beetz. “We can use this tool to easily see if we are dealing with single-walled or double-walled nanotubes, and we are not limited to studying a certain nanotube diameter range as we would be using other methods.” After collecting these two sets of information from many different nanotube structures, researchers were then able, for the first time, to test theories of nanotube electronic transitions and confirm several assumptions made in previous models. “One aspect we have verified is how small changes in the pitch of the hexagons on the nanotube sidewall, determined by how the nanotube grows, lead to systematic deviations in the electronic behavior in both semi-conducting and metallic structures,” said Sfeir. “This predicted behavior, known as the “family pattern,” had never before been directly tested, and our experimental results place it on a solid foundation that was previously lacking.” This research was funded by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences within the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, and the New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research (NYSTAR). The image shows Tobias Beetz (left) and Matt Sfeir reviewing data in the electron microscopy lab at Brookhaven.

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Belzona Introduces Riser Repair Application Technology

5th May 2006 0 comments

Belzona, the UK-based manufacturer of protective coatings and repair composites, presented its application for riser repair and protection at the recent Offshore Technology Conference. Belzona’s senior oil and gas team engineers demonstrated how their polymeric composites, with their ability to cure under ambient, wet and in-service conditions, can be used for repairs to risers on offshore oil drilling vessels. These applications result in decreased downtime and reduced maintenance and repair costs. A riser that is corroded/eroded to where it is no longer capable of functioning could cost the industry up to $200,000 per day if it stands idle. The Belzona composites used in the riser application are said to provide a quick, easy-to-apply and cost-effective solution to a common industry problem. “”Belzona is used by the oil and gas industry worldwide because our polymeric repairs are cost-effective and offer longevity, dependability, and flexibility not found with conventional repairs,”” said Dave Rice, Business Development Manager – Oil & Gas, Belzona Polymerics Ltd. The impact of the Belzona composites to a number of applications — both in production and auxiliary systems — is important, explains Rice. “”It’s similar to that of the tensioners since their introduction in the mid-1960s.””

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Boeing Phantom Works to Lead Research on X-48B Blended Wing Body Concept

5th May 2006 0 comments

In cooperation with NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, the Phantom Works organization of Boeing is taking another step toward exploring and validating the structural, aerodynamic and operational advantages of a futuristic aircraft design called the blended wing body, or BWB. Two composite 21-foot wingspan prototypes of the BWB concept have been designed and produced for wind tunnel and flight testing this year. The Air Force has designated the vehicles as the “”X-48B,”” based on its interest in the design’s potential as a flexible, long-range, high-capacity military aircraft. X-48B Ship No. 1 began wind tunnel testing on April 7 at the Langley Full-Scale Tunnel at NASA’s Langley Research Center. When testing is completed in early May, it will be shipped to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in California to serve as a backup to Ship No. 2, which will be used for flight testing later this year. According to the team, both phases of testing are focused on learning more about the low-speed flight-control characteristics of the BWB concept. “”The X-48B prototypes have been dynamically scaled to represent a much larger aircraft and are being used to demonstrate that a BWB is as controllable and safe during takeoff, approach and landing as a conventional military transport airplane,”” said Norm Princen, Boeing Phantom Works chief engineer for the X-48B program. The X-48B cooperative agreement by Boeing, NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) culminates years of BWB research by NASA and Boeing. AFRL is interested in the concept for its potential future military applications. “”We believe the BWB concept has the potential to cost effectively fill many roles required by the Air Force, such as tanking, weapons carriage, and command and control,”” said Capt. Scott Bjorge, AFRL X-48B program manager. “”This research is a great cooperative effort, and a major step in the development of the BWB. AFRL is inspired to be involved in this critical test program.”” NASA also is committed to advancing the BWB concept. NASA and its partners have tested six different blended wing body models of various sizes over the last decade in four wind tunnels at the Langley Research Center. “”One big difference between this airplane and the traditional tube and wing aircraft is that — instead of a conventional tail — the blended wing body relies solely on multiple control surfaces on the wing for stability and control,”” said Dan Vicroy, NASA senior research engineer at the Langley Research Center. “”What we want to do with this wind-tunnel test is to look at how these surfaces can be best used to maneuver the aircraft.”” The two X-48B prototypes were built for Boeing Phantom Works by Cranfield Aerospace Ltd., in the United Kingdom in accordance with Boeing requirements and specifications. Made primarily of advanced lightweight composite materials, the prototypes weigh about 400 pounds each. Powered by three turbojet engines, they will be capable of flying up to 120 knots and 10,000 feet in altitude during flight testing. Boeing also contracted with Cranfield Aerospace to provide the ground-control station, in which a pilot will remotely control the X-48B during flight research testing.

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