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Composites Industry News

News for 23 November 2009


ATK to Supply Composite Structures for Airbus A350 XWB

23rd November 2009 0 comments

Alliant Techsystems has been selected to produce composite structures and tooling for Airbus’ next-generation A350 XWB (Xtra Wide Body) aircraft. The company will produce the composite components at its composite manufacturing centre of excellence in Iuka, Mississippi. ATK’s proprietary automated stiffener forming machines (ASFM) will be used in the development and manufacture of low-cost composite stringers and frames in a wide variety of shapes, which are required throughout the composite fuselage structure. According to the company, ATK’s production processes can reduce manufacturing time by 90 percent over traditional hand lay-up methods and because of this it is believed that ATK could produce up to 25 miles of A350 XWB composite components per month when functioning at full capacity. “”The A350 XWB program builds on ATK’s decades of composite production experience in military aircraft and launch vehicle programs,”” said John Shroyer, interim CEO at ATK. “”This production program showcases the unique capabilities of ATK’s composite manufacturing expertise and provides ATK a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enter on the ground floor of a revolution in the way commercial airliners will be produced in the decades to come.”” It is estimated the lighter structure will make the plane 30% more fuel efficient.

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Composites Marketing and Publicity Service Launched

23rd November 2009 0 comments

A new specialist Marketing and Publicity business for the Composites sector was launched earlier this year by the former Head of Marketing for Scott Bader’s Composites Division, Nigel O’Dea. Outsourcing B2B Marketing, based in Northamptonshire, England, offers a wide range of marketing services to companies looking for effective external marketing assistance to generate new sales leads and boost their order book. The founder of Outsourcing B2b Marketing, Nigel O’Dea, who has a BSc in Materials Science and a Marketing diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, has worked in the Composites industry for over nine years. Prior to joining Scott Bader, he worked in engineering plastics for DSM EPP UK and the GE Plastics BV, performing a variety of commercial roles both in the UK and in Holland. Outsourcing B2B Marketing offer a wide variety of services, such as: product management; new product launch planning; press release writing and distribution; designing and creating printed and on-line promotional sales tools; brochure and website content writing; 3D motion graphics; e –marketing; telemarketing; photography and exhibition planning. Nigel O’Dea commented: “Many small and medium sized companies are finding it very tough to get all the key marketing projects done on top of the day to day business. A business which puts off doing proactive marketing and remains too short term focused runs a real risk of falling behind the competition. My aim is for Outsourcing B2B Marketing to enable Composites companies to be more successful by doing more selective and better marketing cost effectively, using our sector expertise to support their business with practical added value marketing when they need it.” More information about Outsourcing B2B Marketing and the full range of services offered can be found on their new website, www.outsourcingb2bmarketing.com or by e-mailing info@outsourcingb2bmarketing.com

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New PEEK-Based Thermoplastic Compound for Demanding Wear Applications

23rd November 2009 0 comments

Victrex Polymer Solutions has introduced Victrex WG101, a new tribological compound that is designed for use in challenging thermal and chemical environments within the automotive industry. The new Victrex WG101 compound is said to offer significantly improved wear rates and reduced coefficient of friction when compared to the standard VICTREX PEEK 450FC30 product, which is used in the bulk of all Victrex PEEK polymer applications in friction and wear environments. “We developed Victrex WG101 compound to provide a solution for customers whose wear performance requirements could not be met with the PTFE/graphite/carbon fibre composition of Victrex PEEK 450FC30,” explained James Simmonite, New Products Manager at Victrex. “Manufacturing costs and the ability to use standard thermoplastic processing technologies were other key considerations during development.” In addition to improved wear rates and coefficient of friction, manufacturers say that the Victrex WG101 compound has a thirty percent increase in compressive strength when compared to standard Victrex PEEK 450FC30 and is PTFE-free. “Excessive load, which is typically compressive load in wear applications, can also impact the durability of a product,” explained Simmonite. “It can lead to polymer creep resulting in dimensional changes. The increased compressive strength of the new compound, however, means that components can be designed for higher loads than the same components made with standard Victrex PEEK 450FC30 or other Victrex PEEK-based wear grades.” According to Victrex, the Victrex WG101 compound is ideal for a wide range of applications ranging from full plastic wear bushings to composite bushings to vane tips in vacuum pumps and offers exceptional mechanical, tribological and thermal properties. Additional benefits include excellent melt flow, which allows thin walled intricate component design, and good weld line strength. “This new tribological compound introduces improved performance, low density and standard injection moulding that extends the application range for Victrex PEEK polymer to applications formerly reserved to other products,” said Simmonite. “Additionally, Victrex WG101 compound is RoHS compliant and meets the Global Automotive Declarable Substance List (GADSL) requirements.”

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Nanotechnology is Tested in Space

23rd November 2009 0 comments

Nanomaterials developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic were taken into space by the Space Shuttle Atlantis earlier this week. The project, funded by the U.S. Air Force Multi University Research Initiative (MURI), seeks to test the performance of the new nanocomposites in orbit. Space Shuttle Atlantis will carry the samples to the International Space Station (ISS). The materials will then be mounted to the station’s outer hull in a Passive Experiment Carrier (PEC), and exposed to the rigors of space. The first new material is a wear-resistant, low-friction nanocomposite, created by mixing nanoscale alumina particles with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is known commercially as Teflon. Linda Schadler, Rensselaer Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and her research group introduced different fluorine-coated nanoparticles into conventional PTFE. The small amount of additive caused the wear rate of the PTFE to drop by four orders of magnitude, without affecting the PTFE’s coefficient of friction. The end result is a stronger, more durable PTFE that is almost as nonstick and slippery as untreated PTFE. The gained benefit, Schadler said, is the difference between PTFE that can survive sliding along a surface for a few kilometers before wearing away, and a nanocomposite that could slide across a surface for more than 100,000 kilometers before wearing away. “We’re very excited to have this experiment installed in the ISS, and to see how the new material performs in space,” Schadler said. “In a laboratory setting, the wear rate of the material is four orders of magnitude lower than pure PTFE, which means it is considerably more resistant to wear and tear. Just as important, these advances don’t increase the material’s coefficient of friction, which means the increase in durability won’t come at the expense of creating extra friction.” Affixed to the station, which travels at about 27,700 kph, the nanocomposite sample will be exposed to ultraviolet radiation, and temperatures ranging from -40 degrees to 60 degrees Celsius. The nanocomposite will be mounted on a tribometer, developed by W. Greg Sawyer, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida, which will measure the friction of the material’s surface. A control sample of the material, protected in a vacuum chamber in the PEC, will also be tested. The apparatus will send data in real-time to the ISS laboratory, which in turn will be forwarded to the research team. The second set of nanomaterials to be launched into space are conductive polymer nanocomposites. During the loading of the tribometers into the PEC for space travel, an opportunity arose to also test the conductivity of carbon nanotube-filled polyamideimide and liquid crystalline polymers as a function of space exposure. The conductive composites, developed by Schadler and former Rensselaer postdoctoral researcher Justin Bult – who is now a researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory — had to be developed in less than a week. “It was an exciting week and we weren’t sure if the composites would hold up to the rigorous testing imposed on them to determine if they could even be launched into space,” Schadler said. “It was a thrill when some of them did, and to see the pictures of them mounted in the PEC.”

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ACG Launch CB1100 Composite Tooling Block

23rd November 2009 0 comments

Advanced Composites Group Ltd has launched CB1100, a high-grade ceramic tooling block material, which the company says offers a combination of high temperature resistance and exceptionally low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE). CB1100 is said to be fully compatible with ACG’s LTM epoxy and HTM Bismaleimide (BMI) prepregs and can produce thermally stable composite tooling capable of withstanding the high pressures and elevated temperatures associated with autoclave cure cycles. ACG’s say that the CB1100 ceramic tooling block can be used as a high temperature capable master model. They claim machining times for CB1100 are short and, because of its very low thermal expansion, CB1100 is also particularly suited to the production of high accuracy, short run and prototype tooling, where it can save time and cost. BMI tooling produced with a CB1100 core can be produced direct from the block without the need for a high temperature capable intermediate. CB1100 blocks can be fabricated and machined to form a tool core, totally eliminating the need for a master model. The composite tool skin, laminated directly to the core, uses ACG’s patent pending interfacing technology. Due to the high thermal stability of the ceramic core, ACG say that the tool skin can be cured in a single operation without the need for an initial low temperature cure and then followed by a subsequent free-standing, high temperature post-cure. The carbon tool skin is fully supported by the ceramic core so there is no need for a backing structure. The tool face is CNC-machined to create the final surface profile, thus overcoming accuracy issues created by intrinsic laminate shrinkage, resulting in an exceptionally accurate and stable tool. CB1100 does not absorb water so it does not require drying or subsequent venting of the tool, and it is incombustible.

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Composite Kayak Manufacturers Use Epoxy Bonding Gel-Coat Technology

23rd November 2009 0 comments

Hangzhou Epic Boat Co. and Nelo M.A.R. Kayaks are now using the latest polyester ‘epoxy bonding’ spray gelcoat technology from Scott Bader in their composite Kayaks.

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