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Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California, have developed a high temperature, high strength structural support foam. The material, TEPIC, is claimed to be an exceptionally versatile material for use as moulded-to-shape models as well as prototype and production run tooling for composites manufacturing.
Scott Vaupen, a business development associate at Sandia, said additional applications for the new material may include prototype-injection-moulding tooling, hot-embossing tooling, high temperature adhesives, and structural uses as core materials. Preliminary market research, said Vaupen, suggests that TEPIC can have a significant impact on the $100 million global composite tool manufacturing market.
Because it can be poured into a mould, TEPIC is said to offer advantages over both metallic tools and thin-slab stock tooling board materials in current use.
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