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Composites Industry News

News for 23 April 2007


NIST’s Stretching Exercises Shed New Light on Nanotubes

23rd April 2007 0 comments

Stretching a carbon nanotube composite, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) have made some of the first measurements of how single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) both scatter and absorb polarized light. SWNTs have excited materials scientists with the promise of novel materials that have exceptional mechanical, electronic, and optical properties. Recent research on the optics of SWNTs has focused on the behaviour of “excitons” – the pairing of a negatively charged electron with the positively charged “hole” that it leaves behind when it gets excited by a photon into a higher energy state. An important optical characteristic is how excitons in SWNTs impact the way the nanotubes absorb and scatter light. Measuring that is difficult because the effect depends on the orientation of the nanotubes, and they’re hard to line up neatly. The NIST/RIT team solved the problem elegantly by wrapping SWNTs with DNA to keep them from clumping together, and dispersing them in a polymer. When they heated the polymer and stretched it in one direction, the nanotubes aligned, making the optical measurements possible. The team obtained the first experimental verification of the full optical response of individual semiconducting SWNTs, finding good agreement with theory. The stretching alignment technique is applicable to a broad range of SWNT experiments where orientation is important, particularly in optics. The work should further our current understanding of how nanotubes interact with light, with important practical applications in optical sensing and the manipulation of individual nanotubes using electromagnetic fields.

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Probing the Inner Secrets of Multi-Layer Carbon Nanotubes

23rd April 2007 0 comments

Researchers at the University of Surrey have shown for the first time that knowing the structure of the surface layer of a multi-layer carbon nanotube is not enough to predict its electronic properties. The contribution of inner layers is crucial, and this has serious implications when it particularly comes to fabricating electronic devices such as transistors and molecular interconnects. The work reported in Nano Letters addresses essential issues related to the electronic properties of carbon nanotubes, as an understanding of their behaviour at the atomic level is required to fully exploit the tremendous opportunities that these systems could offer in the development of practical nanoscale devices. Single wall carbon nanotubes can be regarded as individual sheets (one atom thick) of graphite which are wrapped up to form tubes. It is the diameter of the tube and the degree of helicity in this wrapping which determine the electronic properties. Different configurations can result in the tube behaving either as a metallic conductor or as a semiconductor, and this theoretically-predicted relationship between the structure and electronic properties has been confirmed using scanning tunnelling microscopy. Whereas single-walled carbon nanotubes have been researched and well characterised for many years now, less is known about the multi-wall tubes. How strong is the electrical coupling between layers? How does the helicity of the inner layers affect electrical conduction of the multi-wall tube? The experiments carried out at the University of Surrey used scanning tunnelling microscopy of double-walled carbon nanotubes to demonstrate an explicit correlation between the helicity of the constituent tubes, their electronic coupling and the overall electronic structure. Cristina Giusca, the lead author of the paper said: “”The work is of fundamental importance to the carbon community as it shows the first evidence for a direct correlation between the electronic properties of multiwall carbon nanotubes and the diameter and chiral indices (helicity) of the inner shells””. Professor Ravi Silva, who leads the Advanced Technology Institute at the University of Surrey, indicated that “”This is a fine example of the cutting edge research undertaken at the Institute which combines the very best in fundamental research with sound theoretical backing. The work is of crucial importance to all of us conducting research in carbon nanotubes and other forms of quantum transport studies in 1D structures which clearly highlights the importance of the electronic interaction between adjacent layers, which were previously considered to be less important. This work will add new vigour to those examining the use of carbon nanotubes for interconnects in the IC industry. Having only metallic carbon nanotubes may now not be necessary in the design of interconnect wires between semiconductors if multi-walled nanotubes are to be used for this application.””

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Experts Demand Innovations in Renewable Raw Materials for Cars

23rd April 2007 0 comments

Despite the great perspectives for renewable resources, natural fibre reinforced plastics need to be made more competitive through innovation. This is the conclusion drawn by a round-table discussion organized by the workshop on „Naturfaserverstärkte Kunststoffe“ [natural fibre reinforced plastics] of the AVK (Federation of Reinforced Plastics), which took place in February in Hagenbach in the presence of representatives from the automotive industry as well as tier 1 suppliers. The current discussion about the climate and sustainability issues might clear the path for renewable materials. This is true both for natural fibres that are used as reinforcing fibres as well as biopolymers used as matrix materials. While natural fibres are already conquering their own market share in the automotive industry, biopolymers are unlikely to tap the industrial market in the near future. At present, the sustainability argument (renewable raw materials, conservation of resources) is still a minor factor with regard to material selection. Any future success of natural fibre reinforced plastics in the automotive industry depends largely on the expenses associated with the raw materials and the components, the weight of the components, and the workability and machinability using established technologies, such as compression moulding and lamination. However, natural fibres – used as design elements – and biopolymers – used as matrix systems – may gain importance in the future, primarily because of their global availability, their processability by injection moulding, as well as legal requirements, including reduced CO2 emission limits. The design concept, on the other hand, is a major factor with regard to material selection. Natural fibre – reinforced plastics, which are lightweight construction materials, have a definite advantage in this respect. According to the current state of the art, the corresponding costs usually remain neutral at the very least. This is why tier 1 suppliers are now also offering suitable alternatives based on renewable materials at a very early stage. Global availability of natural fibres is guaranteed. The pertinent processing technologies, however, do tend to create regional bottlenecks, which is quite an impediment to the worldwide use of natural fibre-reinforced plastics. The workshop for natural fibre reinforced plastics has developed a plan of campaign to enhance the popularity of biopolymers. Initially, they will find out in how far a sponsored project may be initiated in this respect. Besides, the workshop is to investigate the possibility of registering pertinent characteristic parameters for component simulation, a feasible technique these days for components made of glass fibre – reinforced plastics. New members are more than welcome to join the workshop. For more information please contact the AVK e.V.

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Pescarolo Le Mans Team & Huntsman to Develop New Car For 2007

23rd April 2007 0 comments

Huntsman Advanced Materials has agreed a major sponsorship deal with Pescarolo Sport, one of France’s leading Le Mans teams, to supply advanced adhesives and rapid prototyping materials for the development of an innovative new car to race at the world-famous Le Mans 24hour Endurance Race in June 2007.

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Faurecia Chooses Twintex for the New 2007 Dodge Nitro Door Module

23rd April 2007 0 comments

Faurecia has chosen Saint-Gobain Twintex Long Glass Fiber Pellets (GFL) to build the new Dodge Nitro door module. This new door module offers considerable advantages in terms of costs, weight saving of 25%, quality, acoustic performance and ease of assembly. Faurecia and DaimlerChrysler Corporation were honoured at the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) 36th annual International Automotive Innovation Awards gala (USA) for the innovative use of plastics in the chassis: Hardware category. Faurecia’s third generation Highly Integrated Door module was recognized for the integration of a rail-less window regulator on the all new-2007 Dodge Nitro. The GFL Twintex TP PP 75 TP201 offers a choice of additives and a high glass concentration. Saint-Gobain Vetrotex say that it helps suppliers optimize formulations for dilution and long glass fibre dispersion in the mix, and that manufacturers guarantee the mechanical properties of their pieces and decrease the cost of raw materials.

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ATR Group and Oma Sud Agreement

23rd April 2007 0 comments

ATR Group and Oma Sud Sky- Technologies have announced today the launch of a joint venture, ATR Aerospace. ATR Group, with headquarters in Colonnella (Teramo), has been operating for over twenty years in advanced composite materials technology, with particular experience in the automotive field. “This corporate collaboration with an aeronautic industry – explains Eng. Umberto Pierantozzi, ATR Group President – ATR can accelerate the penetration of the aeronautic sector in a moment of great opportunities for composite material, fitting the experience and production capacity acquired in the automotive world to the standards of the aerospace world even through the competences of OMA SUD. Oma Sud Sky-Technologies, is dedicate to the production of components for medium and large dimension commercial airplanes. Among the principal clients appear Alenia Aeronautica, Officine Aeronavali and Aermacchi, directly. “The opportunity to appear on the market with the potential to supply a ready for use product is certainly the best calling card for a highly specialized and complex sector as that of aeronautics – explained the President of OMA SUD Dr. Valter Proietti .

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Desktop Engineering Launches CATIA Composites Software

23rd April 2007 0 comments

Desktop Engineering has announced the availability of Dassault Systems CATIA Composite Design and Manufacture products in the UK. Drawn from Airbus and Boeing work processes, CATIA V5 Composites Design is an advanced process centric solution that allows companies from the aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding and consumer goods industries, to reduce design and manufacturing time for complex composite parts. CATIA V5 Composite Design Solution is already in use at major aircraft and helicopter manufacturers and suppliers, Formula 1 teams and yacht designers. “Using CATIA V5 Composites Solution significantly improved our engineering processes and almost doubled the productivity of our design staff,” said Antti Aho-Mantila, R&D Engineer at Patria Aerostructures in Spain. The system delivers software tools covering preliminary and detailed design phases while taking into account, even at the concept stage, product manufacturing requirements. Geoff Haines Managing Director of Desktop Engineering commented “This product marries with our traditional areas of expertise, Design, Analysis and Manufacturing and enables us to offer exciting new capabilities to new and existing customers”.

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ACMA to Explore Reconstruction with Composites Materials

23rd April 2007 0 comments

ACMA will meet with members of the Home Builders Association of the Mississippi Coast in Gulfport, to discuss the potential for wide-spread use of composites in rebuilding homes and businesses. “”This is a great opportunity to acclimate home builders to the advantages of using composite materials, and how, from an engineering perspective, there are distinct advantages,”” said ACMA’s Director of Composites Market Growth John Busel. “”In my presentation to the group, I’ll focus on determining areas where application development could build on composites benefits and discuss marketing incentives to build housing that meet or exceed existing or emerging codes.”” The event was spawned by the success of an ACMA meeting with national homebuilder Beazer Homes representatives in Florida last month. The upcoming meeting is intended to discover the unmet needs of builders on the coast and to educate builders on how to build better homes using composites while also considering insurance industry and building code hurdles. ACMA plans to form a committee of composite manufacturers in the next 60 days to explore market growth along the Gulf Coast.

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Rolls-Royce Selects Bristol University for Composites Research

23rd April 2007 0 comments

Rolls-Royce has opened a new University Technology Centre (UTC) in Composites at the University of Bristol to further develop technology for future products across its aerospace, marine and energy markets. The new UTC forms part of the University’s Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS), which was formally launched in Bristol by Malcolm Wicks MP, the UK Minister for Science and Innovation. Ric Parker, Director – Research and Technology for Rolls-Royce, said: “Composites are recognised as a vital component of aero-engine design and manufacturing capability. We already use composites – the Joint Strike Fighter propulsion system has composite stator aerofoils, for example – but increasingly we expect composites to be applied to gas turbine components operating in more demanding parts of the engine, and to a wider range of products, including our civil engines. “Bristol is a proven centre of excellence for composite research and development – as today’s launch of ACCIS shows – and we are delighted to make this the focus of our own composites research. Academic collaboration is increasingly important, and I expect Bristol will work with our international university research network on this important technology area.” The Composites centre is the 28th UTC Rolls-Royce has established worldwide. Many of these are in the UK, but in recent years several have also been inaugurated overseas, reflecting the company’s global research and technology presence. The Bristol-based UTC will act as a focus for composites research activities, liaising closely with other UTCs and academic outlets that have expertise in this area to provide a co-ordinated programme to meet the needs of Rolls-Royce. These include the Rolls-Royce funded UTC at Dresden and other UK universities including Imperial College (London), Oxford, Nottingham and Ulster. It will provide a validated analysis capability for the mechanical response of composites that can be used to design composite engine components. Work programmes will include development of new test and analysis methods, understanding fatigue and damage tolerance, and studying 3-D woven composites. Bristol will have an academic team headed by Professor Michael Wisnom, Director of ACCIS and Professor of Aerospace Structures at Bristol University, and a research team incorporating post-doctoral researchers, PhD students, in addition to dedicated technician, project management and administrative support. Professor Wisnom said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to establish this new centre, and look forward to applying our expertise on design, analysis and manufacture of advanced composites to components and structures of interest to Rolls-Royce.” The Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS) at the University of Bristol brings together an interdisciplinary team of more than 50 researchers working on the science, engineering and application of fibre reinforced composite materials and structures. Research spans four broad themes: Multifunctional Composites & Novel Microstructures; Design, Analysis & Failure; Intelligent Structures and Composites Processing and Characterisation.

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First A400M VTP Arrives at EADS Casa to Start Static Structural Test

23rd April 2007 0 comments

Airbus has delivered the first A400M VTP (Vertical Tail Plane) from Stade, Germany, to Getafe, Spain, where the static test aircraft final assembly is taking place. As the VTP left Airbus’s Stade site today by truck, Thilo Liebig, Head of the A400M Team for Fuselage and VTP said: “This is a major milestone for the A400M programme. The team has done an excellent job to produce this component to such a high standard and on time.” The A400M VTP is again like all other Airbus VTPs a full composite (carbon fibre reinforced plastic, CFRP) structure. Though it is much more complex than any other VTP before, due to the HTP (Horizontal Tail Plane) on top of the VTP for the first time at Airbus and the resulting higher loads. The first VTP to be delivered is destined for the A400M static test aircraft. After the arrival in Getafe, at EADS CASA, the VTP will be joined with the HTP from EADS CASA, Tablada and afterwards being assembled on the central rear fuselage, delivered to Getafe on 20.3.2007. Firm orders for A400M now stand at 192 aircraft; 180 in the original order for seven European NATO nations through OCCAR (i.e. 60 for Germany; 50 for France; 27 for Spain; 25 for the UK; 10 for Turkey; seven for Belgium and one for Luxembourg) plus 12 aircraft ordered by two further customers (eight aircraft for South Africa and four for Malaysia).

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