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News for 14 August 2009


BMS Win Grant for Turbine Research and Testing

14th August 2009 0 comments

Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) has been selected to receive a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support development and testing of advanced composite technologies and resin infusion processes in 1.5+ megawatt wind turbine blades. The project aims to help accelerate development of advanced wind turbines, with a focus on overcoming technology barriers to broader application. “”We are excited by this opportunity to apply progressive lightweight composite technologies for use in the wind energy industry,”” said Mike Gallagher, Director, Government Services Group, BMS. “”The program puts our advanced materials to the test to advance wind energy as a commercially viable renewable energy solution.”” BMS will focus on materials innovations that can help harness the wind and optimize wind turbine performance to support the electric power grid. The project further strengthens Bayer MaterialScience’s commitment to sustainability, joining such other company programs as Product Stewardship, Sustainability Council, and Bayer Global Climate Challenge, as well as its participation in the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care initiative.

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BTS Rejuvenate Vale Signage

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Through careful use of composite components, BTS were able to persuade Vale to use a composite structure instead of the proposed aluminium totem signs, used at their facilities across Brazil and the US. Steel was used as a support for the totems, which were made up of a polyurethane casing for the logo and the text. “The agencies and Vale’s staff were impressed with the results, especially because there were no apparent screws.” said José Alaor Alves, director of BTS. “Basically, we were able to combine beauty and strength”, he added. Initially, Vale opted to use aluminium for the totems. However, BTS proposed composites as an alternative. “[They are] light, flexible and a lot more resistant to corrosion than aluminium”, says Alves. For BTS, this was the first of three phases of the Vale contract. In total, eighty Vale locations gained internal and external totems. “It was our greatest work in visual communication since BTS’ foundation. Overall, we processed 20 tons of composites”, calculates the director. According to BTS, another twenty tons of the material will be used in the following phases.

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ACG Launches High Temperature Resistant Motorsport Prepreg

14th August 2009 0 comments

Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG), has just launched HTM60, a high temperature moulding epoxy resin matrix system designed to offer high levels of temperature resistance for the motorsport industry. ACG say that fully post-cured HTM60 is capable of generating an onset Tg of 230°C (445°F) and retains a Tg of 155°C (310°F) under wet conditions. HTM60 will also adhere directly to Nomex honeycomb. The new resin system is being specifically targeted at both structural and bodywork type applications at all levels in motorsport, as an alternative to Cyanate Ester and Bismaleimide (BMI) systems. HTM60 is available for use with a wide range of unidirectional, biaxial and woven carbon fibre materials.

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AGY Introduces S-1 Glass High Performance Glass Rovings

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AGY recently introduced S-1 Glass high performance glass rovings for use in long fibre reinforced thermoplastics (LFT). Designed for industrial applications, these high performance glass fibres allow new levels of mechanical properties to be developed in a thermoplastic with much lower levels of glass fibre filler – allowing for better processing and higher impact performance. AGY developed S-1 Glass in response to the need for higher performance glass fibre at a lower cost. “S-1 Glass bridges the cost and performance gap between E-Glass and higher performance glass such as our S-2 Glass fibres,” said AGY New Business Development Manager, Iain Montgomery. “Its excellent balance of performance and cost is enabling manufacturers to maximize the benefits from high strength glass fibre rovings and allowing exciting new applications to be developed,” he added. According to AGY, studies have shown that a 32% of S-1 Glass fibre content in a long fibre thermoplastic can deliver the same performance as a 60% of an E-Glass filled product. “Reduced fibre content levels mean higher impact levels, better aesthetics and easier processing of the resins,” explained Montgomery. “Alternatively, going to high levels of fibre content with S-1 Glass would allow new applications to be found due to increases in mechanical performance from these high performance fibres.” S-1 Glass is designed for use with a broad range of thermoplastic resins such as PC, PEI, PBT and PA 6.6. Compared to traditional E-Glass solutions, S-1 Glass has higher hydrolytic stability, a 30% improvement in tensile properties and an 18% improvement in tensile modulus. S-1 Glass is available as a roving for use in long fibre reinforced thermoplastics and is also available in chopped form for glass filled polymers.

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Zyvex and Tenax Team for Demonstrator

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Nanomaterials specialist, Zyvex Performance Materials (ZPM), have joined forces with Toho Tenax America to use Tenax carbon fibre in the construction of their 540SE advanced technology demonstrator boat.

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Hexion Partners With Tekle to Develop Green Building Products

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Hexion Specialty Chemicals, along with Tekle Technical Services, Inc. (TTS), have formalized an agreement to collaborate on commercial developments utilizing TTS’ natural fibre-based materials and Hexion’s industry leading resin systems.

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Premix Celebrates 50 Years in Thermoset Composites

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This month, Premix, an early pioneer of thermoset composites, celebrates its 50th anniversary. “Our founders were among the first to recognize the unique properties and superior performance of thermoset technology,” said Tom Meola, Premix President and Chief Operating Officer. “With an eye to the future, they understood the potential to transform entire industries by converting traditional manufacturing materials to composites, thereby reducing costs, increasing the rate and speed of production while improving product performance and quality.” The company was founded by George Kaull and Ford Davey in a small rented facility in Conneaut, Ohio. From there Premix worked within the business equipment, appliance, corrosion, transportation, construction and aircraft industries. In 1964, Premix made a significant expansion through the purchase of a 35-acre farm in North Kingsville, Ohio, which was followed by several more developments including the acquisition of Quantum Composites in 1990. Today, Premix develops, designs, and manufactures thermoset composite materials and custom-moulded components, serving customers all over the world from its 330,000 square-foot facility in North Kingsville and its 50,000 square-foot operation in Bay City, Michigan. The company markets a wide range of commercial composite materials including, Sheet Molding Compounds (SMC), Bulk Molding Compounds (BMC), Thick Molding Compounds (TMC) and Engineered Structural Composites (ESC) under the trademarks Premi-Glas, Premi-Ject and Lytex. Speaking of their longevity, 40-year employee, Steve Searl, attributed the success of Premix to the commitment of the workforce. “Visit any one of our facilities and you will see our founders’ spirit at work among our team of dedicated employees. Their passion for excellence and drive to deliver growth through technical innovation continues to prepare us to take on new challenges.” In conjunction with their anniversary celebrations, Premix have launched a new website.

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Crestapol and Crestomer Training for European Distributors

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As part of their ongoing continuous development programme, Scott Bader recently put together a two day distributor training course for acrylate Crestapol high performance resins and Crystic Crestomer structural adhesives. The training course was held at Scott Bader’s Technical Centre in Wollaston, Northamptonshire and was attended by distributors from Italy, Holland, Germany and Poland. The course combined lectures which covered both the technical properties and benefits that can be achieved by convertors, such as weight reduction, productivity improvements and overall production cost savings, plus practical application and processing training. Laura Fabi, Marketing Manager of Resintex Technology, Italy, commented, “ We very much appreciate the opportunity to do this type of in-depth training to learn about these specialty products from Scott Bader. It is very important we understand them well, so we can be confident when we speak with our customers and give them good technical advice about these excellent composite products”.

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Researchers Make Carbon Nanotubes Without Metal Catalyst

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Scientists at MIT have discovered that nanotubes can grow without a metal catalyst. The researchers have demonstrated that zirconium oxide can be used to grow nanotubes without the unwanted side effects of metal. Researchers found that if they just used zirconium oxide nanoparticles on the substrate, when growing nanotubes in the traditional method, they could coax carbon into nanotubes. According to the team responsible, this resulted in growth which appeared completely different from that of metal nanoparticle-grown tubes; instead of dissolving into the nanoparticle and precipitating out, zirconia-grown nanotubes appeared to assemble directly on the surface. In collaboration with Professor Stephan Hofmann at the University of Cambridge in England, the MIT researchers took images of the oxide-based nanotubes using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy during growth. This allowed them to see that when nanotubes formed, zirconium oxide persisted, and didn’t form into a metal. Historically, nanotubes have been grown using elements unsuitable for clean room environments, but using this alternative catalyst could provide a solution to this problem. The new development also allows researchers to view the formation process using infrared spectroscopy, something which is difficult to accomplish when using metals. “”I think this fundamentally changes the discussion about how we understand carbon nanotubes synthesis,”” says Brian Wardle, professor of aeronautics and astronautics. Wardle suspects that more oxide-based catalysts will be found in the coming years. He and his team will focus on trying to understand the fundamental mechanisms of this type of nanotube growth and continue in their attempts to discover further non-metal catalysts. While the researchers don’t have a timeline, they suspect that it would be easy to commercialize the process as it’s simple, adaptable and, in many ways, more flexible than growth with metal catalysts.

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Vistagy Help Halve Production Time on Renault Diffuser

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Using its FiberSIM composites software, Vistagy were able to reduce the time it took to design and manufacture a composite diffuser for Renault’s R29 race car from an estimated 12 weeks to just six weeks. As a result, Vistagy claim the ING Renault Team was able to get the new diffuser on the track two races sooner than they anticipated. ING Renault F1 Team has used FiberSIM for the last seven seasons to design and manufacture all composite parts, including the chassis, gearbox, floor, side pods and wing main planes. Vistagy say that not only did the team save time when manufacturing the diffuser, Renault also reported time-savings of 20-30 percent for the gearbox. The double diffuser was used to great effect by the Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams teams in the first two rounds of the 2009 Formula One season. However, ambiguity in the regulations meant many teams felt the component was not permissible under the 2009 regulations. Renault F1 was one of four teams to appeal its use, an appeal that was denied by the governing Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). Like many other teams, Renault F1 Team had been working on its own version of the large double diffuser floor, which smoothly channels air under and out of the back of the car, increasing downforce, lateral grip and overall performance. Once the FIA issued the ruling allowing the use of the new diffuser, FiberSIM helped Renault F1 Team quickly implement it. “We worked with an outside supplier and asked if they’d like electronic templates generated by FiberSIM for manufacturing the diffuser,” said Ian Goddard, senior CAE engineer for ING Renault F1 Team. “This provided the supplier with better accuracy than they were used to. In fact, the quality of manufacturing data was better than anything they’ve ever had.” “With ply books, we normally expect some ambiguity, but by using FiberSIM we are able to manufacture the car just as it is designed. That makes a big difference in the 16-week period leading up to the season, but it is even more critical during the season when a part needs to be produced and shipped in time for the next race, as was the case with the diffuser,” added Goddard. “There’s a constant battle in F1 to find ways to design and manufacture parts better and faster,” said Mr. Goddard. “Our experience with FiberSIM on the development of the composite diffuser once again demonstrated just how critical it is to our efforts to meet our deadlines and put the best car possible on the starting grid.” Image: Fernando Alonso in the Renault R29 leading Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren MP4-24 Mercedes in the 2009 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, England in June.

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