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Ashland Composite Polymers have added a dedicated laboratory to its research and development capabilities by installing a new infusion moulding lab.
“We can now more readily adjust to and support our customers’ needs,” said Andy Beer, global marine marketing manager, Ashland Specialty Chemical. “Although boat-building primarily is open contact moulding, using either a hand lay-up or spray-up method, many in the boating industry are switching to, or investigating a move to, infusion moulding. It is quickly becoming the method of choice for reduced styrene levels during construction. Its advantages also include improved physical properties, consistency and even cost reduction depending on part size.”
The new laboratory allows Ashland scientists to better assess changes in resin formulation, gauge flow, compatibility of catalysts, and temperature. The laboratory capabilities also provide better opportunities for product innovation and discovery. Infusion moulding uses an air-tight, sealed sheet that surrounds a mould. It is then subjected to vacuum pressure to draw the composite resin through layers of fibreglass.
The fibreglass can be used alone, or it can overlay other materials such as balsa wood or foam core.
“This process is being implemented in a number of applications so it is very important that we continue to expand our exploration of this technology,” said Beer.
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