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Composites Industry News

News for 8 July 2007


Amitech Closes Brazilian Contract for Supply of FRP Pipes

8th July 2007 0 comments

Amitech, part of the Saudi Arabian group Amiantit that specialise in the manufacture of piping for sanitation and irrigation, have signed a contract for the supply of 19 km of fibreglass reinforced polyester pipes in the Integration Channel, in Ceara.

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Sunreef Starts Building its 15th Sunreef 62 Catamaran

8th July 2007 0 comments

Sunreef Yachts has started to build its 15th unit Sunreef 62 Catamaran of COMPOSITE materials, based on resin infusion technology recently introduced in their yacht manufacturing process. Sunreef one of the few shipyards in the world building semi custom yachts using epoxy resins coupled with glass and carbon fibres, and they claim that the use of epoxy is worthy of closer attention where the primary concern is high quality, strength and longevity. For fully customized yachts, a customer can also choose the option of a structure engineered entirely in carbon fibre. As a natural consequence of technical progress at Sunreef, they are introducing two new models, the Sunreef 67 Power and Sailing, made of epoxy in its standard version, and a new Sunreef 78 Power. Sunreef manufacture semi custom and custom yachts, sail and power catamarans, together with their own masts and booms of carbon epoxy.

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Hexion Specialty Chemicals Makes Proposal to Acquire Huntsman

8th July 2007 0 comments

Hexion Specialty Chemicals has offered to acquire Huntsman for $10.4 billion, approximately 8% over Basell’s previously announced agreement to acquire the company. Hexion’s proposal is subject to a customary merger agreement, which has been submitted to Huntsman’s Transaction Committee together with Hexion’s offer. The transaction would be subject to regulatory approvals and the affirmative vote of Huntsman shareholders. The proposal is fully financed pursuant to commitments from Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank. Hexion’s proposal is currently under review by the Huntsman Transaction Committee.

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Composite Decking Provides Strongest Growth Opportunity

8th July 2007 0 comments

US demand for decking is projected to grow about two percent per year through to 2011, to 3.5 billion lineal feet, valued at more than $4 billion. Growth will be similar to the 2001-2006 period, despite a weaker new housing outlook. The decking market is relatively stable because more than 85 percent of demand is generated through repair and improvement activity, which is inherently less cyclical than the new construction market. New markets will offer more mixed prospects. Gains in new nonresidential construction activity will accelerate, while new residential and nonbuilding construction spending is expected to cool, limiting decking gains. The US decking market has seen a shift in product mix in recent years. In 1996, wood decking materials accounted for 96 percent of volume demand, with only minimal use of alternative decking materials such as wood-plastic composites, vinyl and polyethylene. However, from 1996 to 2006, alternative materials replaced natural wood materials at an accelerated rate. Alternative decking materials in the aggregate accounted for more than ten percent of the 3.2 billion lineal foot market in 2006, posting double-digit gains annually in most markets from 1996 to 2006. Alternative decking materials will continue to lead the decking market in terms of annual gains through 2011, further eroding the market share of wood materials. Composite decking will provide the strongest growth opportunity, fuelled by its high durability and low maintenance requirements, as well as by product advances that provide more realistic wood appearance. Additionally, the environmental profile of composites (e.g., some wood-plastic blends use recycled materials), as well as their increasing acceptance and availability, will drive gains. Other alternative decking materials such as plastic and aluminium will also show strong growth through 2011. Demand for these materials will benefit from many of these same performance characteristics as composite materials such as lower maintenance requirements and long life. However, these decking materials often provide less favorable aesthetics and a much higher price than composites or wood, which often limits use in the large residential market. Despite significant competition from alternative decking materials, wood will remain the dominant material used to produce decks in the US going forward. Wood decking demand will continue to reap the rewards of its good reputation and its aesthetic appeal. Pressure-treated wood in particular will continue to benefit from its lower price compared to other woods and alternative decking materials. Tropical hardwoods will lead gains in the wood segment. However, demand for wood decking overall is forecast to grow minimally through 2011, limited by ongoing concern over the safety of the preservatives used to treat lumber and the higher maintenance requirements over the life cycle. These figures come from a new Freedonia industry study, Wood & Competitive Decking, available on request through NetComposites. It presents historical demand data for 1996, 2001 and 2006 plus forecasts for 2011 and 2016 by product, market and US region. The study also considers market environment factors, evaluates market share and profiles 37 competitors.

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Rohacell Structural Foams Meet Quality Standards

8th July 2007 0 comments

Degussa’s High Performance Polymers Business Unit’s product line Rohacell recently received EN 9100 certification. Degussa say that the certification highlights the product line’s excellent quality standard and confirms that Rohacell structural sandwich foam cores meet the demands of the most stringent quality standards for the aerospace industry. To date Rohacell has been referred to in 190 specifications worldwide including FAA, MIL and WL. Eight different grades of Rohacell in various densities are available to suit the demands in numerous fields of applications, and are generally selected for their strength-to-weight ratio, HDT, creep compression resistance and fatigue properties. The 100% closed cell foams are easy to machine and can also be thermoformed.

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Chem-Trend Combats Pre-Release Issues on Large Parts

8th July 2007 0 comments

Chem-Trend has introduced a new mould release system developed specifically for applications where pre-release is a concern. Chemlease CPR is a semi-permanent mould release product that Chem-Trend say offers a number of benefits to the moulding industry. John Lundin, North American Sales Manager for Chem-Trend’s Composites line, believes the CPR is a breakthrough product and addresses a long-standing industry problem. “”Ask just about any moulder of large parts, and there is an underlying concern with pre-release in these applications. The Chemlease CPR product was developed for applications on very large parts that are typically prone to pull away from the mold surface before moulders have had a chance to back the part with glass and resin. Our new CPR product has shown dramatic results in tests and now in field applications. The bottom line is that this product works – and works well!”” Lundin added that the increase in performance doesn’t come at the cost of longer cure times or part quality. “”The application procedure and cure times of the Chemlease CPR are fast, simple and provide multiple releases while maintaining a high gloss, Class A finish.””

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Alcan Acquires Technology for Foamable PET Composite Material

8th July 2007 0 comments

Alcan Airex has acquired the patents and know-how for foamable PET (polyethylene terephthalate) technology from Italy-based Mossi & Ghisolfi Group, to secure the global availability of PET-based foam core materials for the growing composites, packaging and other industrial markets. “”The acquisition of the patents and the know-how for foamable PET technologies from our Italian supplier will allow Alcan to secure the long-term global availability and supply of PET-based materials to all our customers,”” said Pierre Monéton, President, Core Materials, Alcan Composites. “”Having the exclusive rights to this technology will enable Alcan to continue to innovate in new PET-based core materials for the wind energy, marine and transportation markets worldwide,”” he added. PET has emerged as a key material to serve the increasing demand for sandwich core materials in the expanding wind energy market, as demonstrated by Airex T 90, a PET-based foam core material that was launched in 2005. Airex T 90 is one brand out of Alcan’s broad range of core materials for structural sandwich applications in the wind energy, marine and transportation markets. Mossi & Ghisolfi (M&G) Group is a producer of PET for packaging applications, headquartered in Tortona, Italy. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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Carbon Nanotubes Endure Heavy Wear and Tear

8th July 2007 0 comments

The ability of carbon nanotubes to withstand repeated stress yet retain their structural and mechanical integrity is similar to the behaviour of soft tissue, according to a new study from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. When paired with the strong electrical conductivity of carbon nanotubes, this ability to endure wear and tear, or fatigue, suggests the materials could be used to create structures that mimic artificial muscles or interesting electro-mechanical systems, researchers said. The report, “Fatigue resistance of aligned carbon nanotube arrays under cyclic compression,” appears in the July issue of Nature Nanotechnology. Despite extensive research over the past decade into the mechanical properties of carbon nanotube structures, this study is the first to explore and document their fatigue behaviour, said co-author Victor Pushparaj, a senior research specialist in Rensselaer’s department of materials science and engineering. “The idea was to show how fatigue affects nanotube structures over the lifetime of a device that incorporates carbon nanotubes,” Pushparaj said. “Even when exposed to high levels of stress, the nanotubes held up extremely well. The behaviour is reminiscent of the mechanics of soft tissues, such as a shoulder muscle or stomach wall, which expand and contract millions of times over a human lifetime.” Pushparaj and his team created a free-standing, macroscopic, two-millimetre square block of carbon nanotubes, made up of millions of individual, vertically aligned, multiwalled nanotubes. The researchers then compressed the block between two steels plates. The team repeated this process more than 500,000 times, recording precisely how much force was required to compress the nanotube block down to about 25 percent of its original height. Even after 500,000 compressions, the nanotube block retained its original shape and mechanical properties. Similarly, the nanotube block also retained its original electrical conductance. In the initial stages of the experiment, the force needed to compress the nanotube block decreased slightly, but soon stabilized to a constant value, said Jonghwan Suhr, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Nevada in Reno, who received his doctorate from Rensselaer in 2005, and with Pushparaj contributed equally to this report. While more promising than polymers and other engineered materials that exhibit shape memory, carbon nanotubes by themselves do not perform well enough to be used as a synthetic biomaterial. But Pushparaj and his fellow researchers are combining carbon nanotubes with different polymers to create a material they anticipate will perform as well as soft tissue. The team is also using results from this study to develop mechanically compliant electrical probes and interconnects. In addition to Pushparaj and Suhr, other contributing authors of the paper include Pulickel Ajayan, the Henry Burlage Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer; Omkaram Nalamasu, professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering at Rensselaer; Lijie Ci, Rensselaer research associate; Subbalakshmi Sreekala, a research associate in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University; and X. Zhang, research associate in the school of materials science and engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Funding for the project was provided by the Focus Center New York for Interconnects.

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