The European project, Ecogel Cronos, has developed an innovative and ecological high-productivity RTM process focusing on the formulation and the manufacturing of new fast-curing powder gelcoats for composite parts.
According to Project Manager, AIMPLAS (The Spanish Plastics Technology Centre), at this point, the manufacturing times have been drastically reduced and the emissions from the workplace have been minimised. A final finish powder gelcoat has been obtained which is claims reduces up to 80% the curing time compared to conventional liquid gelcoats. Likewise, it has been obtained a primer gelcoat with electrical conductivity in which curing time has been reduced compared to conventional ones. In this case, it is also relevant the fact that any other step in primer process is not needed.
AIMPLAS explains that until now the aerospace technology (characterised by high cost and low productivity) was used for their production. However, it is necessary to develop new technologies that make profitable the process to achieve a cost and a productivity that meet the needs of this industry.
Two study cases have been proposed in the project in order to demonstrate the advantages of the new technologies developed: a part of a tractor and a car door. After obtaining new powder gelcoats, AIMPLAS says project work is focused now on the development of composite moulds in which carbon fibre laminate will assume a double function, acting at the same time as structural reinforcement in the mould and as a heat component that will provide a completely homogenous heat surface.
The consortium of the project is formed by 13 European organisations that includes AIMPLAS, ECOINNOVA and CIDETEC from Spain; Composite Integration, AXON, FAR-UK, and NetComposites from UK; CLERIUM from the Netherlands, Indupol International from Belgium; e-Xstream engineering from Luxembourg; Bielefeld University (FHBI) from Germany; KETEK from Finland; Megara from Greece; and Steel Belt Systems Powder Coating Division (SBS) from Italy.
The research leading to this result has received a grant from the EU (FP7/2007-2013) Seventh Framework Programme under the grant agreement no 609203.
Image provided by AIMPLAS
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