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Composites Industry News

News for September 2009


Vertu Launch Carbon Fibre Ascent Ti

1st September 2009 0 comments

Luxury mobile phone manufacturer, Vertu, have just released their latest offering – the Carbon Fibre Ascent Ti. The handset, principally made out of carbon fibre composite, is set to retail at around $10,000. Vertu claims that the handmade phones are designed to be tough and durable, having selected a 1k weave of carbon fibre to achieve not only a stunning look but a product with a high level of strength-to-weight ratio. The diagonal rib appearance of each phone is achieved using a twill carbon fibre weave process resulting in a robust and contemporary handset. This latest Vertu collection includes the Ascent Ti Carbon Fibre Limited Edition, Carbon Fibre Grip, Carbon Fibre & Aluminium Grip and Carbon Fibre & Copper Grip.

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Offshore Alpha Ventus Delivers Power to the German Grid

1st September 2009 0 comments

Offshore wind farm, Alpha Ventus, has delivered its first run of power to the German national grid. Five out of 12 turbines have been completed, three of which are in their adjustment phase, all of which are due to be fully functional by the end of this year. Composite materials are used in the construction of the rotor blades at the Borkum-based Aplha Ventus project. According to project leaders, this is the first time offshore wind power has been used in the North Sea to assist Germany’s power demands. The turbines, with a nominal capacity of five megawatts, are located 45 kilometres north of the island of Borkum. “The wind turbines ‘AV 8’, ‘AV 9‘ and ‘AV 12’ are currently undergoing the so-called adjustment phase“, explains Wilfried Hube, the overall project leader of alpha ventus.”As the name suggests, during this phase all the functions of the turbines are technically inspected and adjusted for the subsequent long-term operation. This is comparable with making technical adjustments to the engine of a new car,” continues Hube. The adjustment phase is followed by a period of so-called trial operation. In this phase, the wind turbines are subjected to various test scenarios, such as operating under full load at different wind speeds. These test scenarios last for several hundred hours. Construction of the wind turbines began in mid-April this year, after a first attempt had to be aborted in August 2008 due to poor weather conditions.

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Belite Carbon Fibre Wing Withstands 4G Load

1st September 2009 0 comments

Belite Aircraft has recently completed a series of static tests which demonstrated the structural integrity and durability of the aircraft’s carbon fibre wing, showing that it can withstand loads of up to 4G’s. Conducted at the firm’s Wichita, Kansas facilities, the tests subjected a carbon fibre wing to progressively increasing G loads to verify that the wing exceeded the stated specifications of +3.8/-1.5Gs in static testing. Manufacturers say that the wing, which weighs less than 14lbs, exceeded the stated limits, remaining intact under a 4G load of 1134lbs. Belite Aircraft specialises in ultra-light aircraft which take advantage of Federal Aviation Regulation Part 103. Belite claim that the stringent weight limitations of this ruling have caused many craft to struggle to achieve the legal requirement, however their planes incorporate stronger, lighter carbon fibre technologies, instead of older steel, wood, or aluminium, thus reducing weight. Speaking on the advantages of using carbon fibre, James Wiebe, CEO of Belite, said, “We wanted to demonstrate the strength carbon fibre can provide at light weights. It does not behave like a metal. When highly stressed, metal will begin to deform while still providing strength. Carbon fibre, on the other hand, will take loads nearly to 100% of strength without permanent deformation. “We began the testing by conducting a negative G test, placing a 2G load on the wing of our Belite 254. We proceeded to conduct a positive G test by attaching the wings to another fuselage, inverting it. Under a load of 3Gs we noted delamination of specific ribs under compressive load, from the bottom of the rib through to the top of the rib. The Carbon Fibre spars were undamaged. Consequently we revised the rib design. After changes, the wing still weighed less than 14 pounds. “We then loaded more than 1100 pounds onto the inverted wing panel, which was then supported by sawhorses. In fact, one of the sawhorse support points failed…but the wing remained intact. “After reconfiguration of the test supports, testing was continued. The wing was loaded again, up to 1134 pounds. At this point, the deflection at the tip was measured at 2.5 inches. I think this testing more than verifies that the carbon fibre construction is not only significantly lighter, but can withstand the loads experienced in flight,” Wiebe concluded. The carbon fibre Belite 254 is available in either kit or assembled form.

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Britons Steam to Victory

1st September 2009 0 comments

Attendees of Edward’s Air Base, California, were able to see history being made earlier this week as Charles Burnett III successfully broke the long-standing land speed record for a steam powered car – achieving an average speed of 139.843mph on two mile-long runs. Achieving a top speed of 151.085mph, Charles Burnett III broke Fred Stanley’s record speed of 127mph, which was set in 1906. Weighing three tons, the 25ft long car is made from a mixture of lightweight carbon-fibre composite and aluminium, wrapped around a steel space frame chassis. The bulk of its weight comes from the vehicles 12 boilers, which contain almost two miles of tubing, and its fuel. Demineralised water is pumped into the boilers at up to 50 litres a minute and the burners produce three megawatts of heat. Steam is superheated to 400 degrees Celsius which is injected into the turbine at more than twice the speed of sound, according to a team spokesman. “”It was absolutely fantastic I enjoyed every moment of it,” said principal driver, Charles Burnett III, speaking of his achievement. “We reached nearly 140mph on the first run… the second run went even better and we clocked a speed in excess of 150 mph. All systems worked perfectly, it was a really good run. It is a privilege to be involved with such a talented crew, what we have achieved today is a true testament to British engineering, good teamwork and perseverance,” Burnett added. Due to the cars fixed gearing, acceleration is slow and therefore the car requires a long track to achieve its top speed. Because of this, the team had estimated they needed a minimum of six miles to make the record attempt. Project Manager, Matt Candy said, “”There are no runways or man-made flat surfaces six miles long – it has to be a natural feature. Beaches, lake beds or salt flats are often chosen for speed record attempts, including the well-known Bonneville Salt Flats.” Rogers Dry Lake Bed, California, part of the 308,000-acre Edward’s Airforce Base, was the site selected for the record-breaking run.

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Nanocyl Promote CNTs at Nano Korea 2009

1st September 2009 0 comments

Nanocyl’s NC 7000 multiwall carbon nanotubes will be a featured product line at this year’s Nano Korea conference. The company claim that this series of carbon nanotubes is one of the most electrically conductive CNTs currently available. CNTs make it possible to develop, store and handle the most advanced integrated circuits, semiconductors, and hard disk drives (HDD). According to Nanocyl, the use of carbon nanotube technology can provide higher cleanliness, elimination of ‘hot spots’, dimensional stability, higher recyclability, and greater abrasion resistance. A recent development in this technology has seen CNTs being integrated into automotive fuel lines, in order to help prevent the decay that can happen in fuel lines and pumps. According to Nanocyl, South Korean companies have shown an increasing support for carbon nanotube technology, with hard disk drives and automotive navigation systems driving this demand. “”CNTs make it possible to develop, store and handle the most advanced integrated circuits, semiconductors, and hard disk drives (HDD),”” said Roberto Mongiovi, business development manager at Nanocyl. “”Carbon nanotube technology provides higher cleanliness, elimination of ‘hot spots’, dimensional stability, higher recyclability, and greater abrasion resistance,”” he added. According to Mongiovi, carbon nanotubes can also help automakers design, produce and recycle lighter-weight parts that conduct electricity, save gas, and reduce C02 emissions.

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Boeing 787 to Be Tested in Late 2009

1st September 2009 0 comments

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, the first of their aircraft to be primarily made out of composite materials, is expected to complete its first test flights before the end of 2009. The much protracted project has recently seen a set-back that has required extra reinforcements to be put in place. Although there have been delays, Boeing expect some orders to be delivered by the fourth quarter of 2010 and they project a production rate of ten aeroplanes per month in late 2013. The new schedule reflects the previously announced need to reinforce an area within the side-of-body section of the aircraft, along with the addition of several weeks of schedule margin to reduce flight test and certification risk. The 787 team working the side-of-body reinforcement has completed initial testing and is finalising design details of new fittings that are expected to ensure full structural integrity of the joint. The static test procedure that uncovered the issue will be repeated and the results fully analyzed before first flight is conducted. Fatigue testing also will be performed on stringer components to validate the long-term durability of the modification. “”This new schedule provides us the time needed to complete the remaining work necessary to put the 787’s game-changing capability in the hands of our customers,”” said Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney. “”The design details and implementation plan are nearly complete, and the team is preparing airplanes for modification and testing.”” Based on the revised schedule and other assumption updates, the company has determined that the 787 program is not in a forward-loss position.

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Frangible Masts Gain FAA Approval

1st September 2009 0 comments

Exel has recently gained a positive boost by receiving FAA approval on its range of Frangible masts; as well as being resistant to changing weather conditions, runway masts must break apart into low density pieces if they are subject to an aircraft collision. The lighting masts, made from glass fibre reinforced composite material, have frangibility made into a feature of the design. In addition to this, they incorporate other features required for use in airport environments, such as transparency to radio waves in order avoid distortion of landing system instruments. The safety approach masts have met the FAA requirements contained in Advisory Circular 150/5345-53C, Airport lighting equipment. The tests were carried out at a test and research facility in Canada.

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ACG Carbon Prepregs Applied to AESIR’s Unmanned Autonomous Systems

2nd September 2009 0 comments

Composite carbon prepreg materials from Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG) are being utilised by AESIR to manufacture the fuselage of its ODIN, HODER and VIDAR Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs). Using patented AESIR technology, AESIR’s UAVs are able to function in urban and rural environments and are suitable for a variety of uses, such as surveillance and lifting cargo. ACG’s MTM 28 Series prepregs are based on a 85 to120°C, curing, toughened, epoxy matrix resin, specifically manufactured for components requiring high damage tolerance. AESIR say that these were preferred because of their strong impact resistance, autoclave curing capability and long lifesppan. In this application, AESIR opted to autoclave cure its UAV fuselages, but ACG say their MTM 28 Series prepregs can accommodate vacuum bag or press moulding. AESIR’s ODIN VTOL UAV, which is the company’s median product, measures 1m in diameter, weighs 10kg and has a payload of 10kg. It is powered by a Wankel Rotary engine, which burns JP-8 jet fuel, giving it a one hour operational capability. The HODER VTOL UAV, which is currently at prototype stage, is a heavy lift craft capable of carrying a one tonne payload. Typical operational roles covered by the AESIR range include: ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance), situation awareness, communications relay and electronic warfare, fixed and mobile asset protection, IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) detection, weapon or loitering munition, stores deployment and any other operation where using a manned craft might put a crew’s life at risk.

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Material Price Increases

4th September 2009 0 comments

The latest pricing information of materials related to the composite industry.

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Vermont Composites, Wins Lockheed Martin STAR Supplier Award

4th September 2009 0 comments

Vermont Composites have been honoured by Lockheed Martin, being awarded STAR Supplier status. To attain this title, Vermont Composites achieved 100% quality and 100% delivery for all products provided to Lockheed Martin for a period of one year. Additionally, Vermont Composites met the established criteria for Lockheed Martin’s Supplier Performance Evaluation metric that evaluates quality, delivery, affordability and management / administration. In order to establish their premium suppliers, Lockheed Martin use the Supplier Performance Evaluation metric across the Corporation to assess suppliers’ performance in three evaluation categories. Suppliers can achieve STAR recognition on three levels: 1) Distributor; 2) Production; and, 3) Subcontractor Services. Lockheed Martin STAR Suppliers are provided visibility across Lockheed Martin Corporation. This results in increased opportunity for more business amongst each individual site.

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