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Composites Industry News

News for June 2003


Interplastic Receives Governor’s Safety & Health Award

2nd June 2003 0 comments

Interplastic’s Thermoset Resins Division’s Ft. Wright, Kentucky Manufacturing Plant and Research and Development Laboratory have been awarded the Governor’s Safety & Health Award. The award is presented in recognition of the facilities over 250,000 man-hours without a lost time accident.

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World’s First Carbon Nanofiber Bridge Debuts

2nd June 2003 0 comments

University of Dayton (UD) SAMPE Student Chapter members recently constructed what they believe is the world’s first bridge to contain carbon nanofibers, dubbed the ‘World’s First Carbon Nanofiber Bridge’. The activity was part of the SAMPE 6th Annual Super Light-Weight Composite Bridge Building Contest on May 13 in Long Beach, California. UD Engineering students developed a bridge design that combined innovative sandwich structural design with braided fabric composite materials and carbon nanofibers. The carbon nanofiber bridge won two prizes in the Contest: 2nd place in testing in the category of “braided bridge, kit materials”, and 2nd place in the student poster contest. The bridge supported a load of 2,136 lbs. and weighed only 0.965 lbs., for an “efficiency ratio” of 2214:1. This result was 55% greater than bridges of the same design not containing carbon nanofibers that were previously tested at UD using the same test fixture and parameters. The improvement was attributed to the increase in the resin modulus resulting from the nanofibers, which in previous testing was observed to increase by a factor of 2.5 times at a nanofiber loading of 4 wt% (of the resin). The resin modulus is widely known to have a significant impact in resin-dominated composite properties such as compressive strength and interlaminar shear strength. The goals of the UD nanofiber bridge project were several fold: to demonstrate the tangible, multifunctional benefits of currently available and affordable carbon nanofibers, to publicize that the Dayton area is a leader in nanomaterial technology development and commercialization, to stimulate collaboration among several Dayton area organizations and UD in the area of nanomaterials, and to provide an invaluable cross-disciplinary engineering project for UD undergraduate and graduate students. These goals were accomplished through designing and building a bridge that combined mechanical strength and robustness, light weight, and improved heat transfer and electrical conductivity. The primary technical objective was to demonstrate mechanical property improvements with the addition of a small amount (4 wt%) of carbon nanofibers. Several local companies sponsored the project, including National Composite Center, Applied Science Inc., and A&P Technologies Inc., as well as the University of Dayton Research Institute. A contingent of six UD Engineering students attended the SAMPE Conference to participate in the bridge building contest. The SAMPE Super Light-Weight Composite Bridge Building Contest is in its sixth year. Organized by Dr. Howard Kliger (H.S. Kliger and Associates, Edison, NJ), this contest is held at the International SAMPE Symposium and Exhibition (ISSE), and it has grown in popularity and participation since its inception. The goal is to build a lightweight “bridge” that maximizes the ratio of bending strength to bridge weight. The bridges are 24 inches long and have a 4-inch-wide “road surface”. There are different categories based on the types of materials used, with carbon fiber composite materials being used the most often historically. Prizes are awarded to the bridges scoring the highest strength-to-weight ratio. Usually there are additional prizes awarded for other criteria.

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US Glass Fiber Market to Approach $7 Billion in 2007

9th June 2003 0 comments

US demand for glass fibers is projected to increase two percent per year to 6.9 billion pounds in 2007, valued at $6.8 billion. Best opportunities are expected for textile glass fibers in reinforced plastics applications, which will grow 2.7 percent annually to 1.2 billion pounds. Opportunities in reinforced plastics will stem from their advantages over competitive materials, including light weight, corrosion resistance and a favorable cost/performance profile. Slower growth is expected for glass wool insulation and textile glass fiber in other reinforced uses. Growth in aftermarket to boost glass wool demand Glass wool (fiberglass) insulation demand is forecast to increase 1.7 percent annually to 4.1 billion pounds in 2007. A projected deceleration in residential construction activity will strongly limit growth prospects for fiberglass insulation, as the residential construction market accounts for approximately 70 percent of overall fiberglass insulation demand. Declines in single-unit conventional housing starts through 2007 will be offset somewhat by growing aftermarket demand, as well as by more intensive use of fiberglass insulation per new housing unit. The best opportunities are anticipated in nonresidential construction due to rebounds in office, commercial and industrial construction applications. Textile glass fiber demand is forecast to advance 2.5 percent per year to 2.8 billion pounds in 2007. Building products and motor vehicles will remain the leading applications. Among other major reinforced plastic markets, best growth is forecast for the electrical and electronic market, stimulated by rapid advances in computer and telecommunications technology, which have shortened the useful life of many types of business equipment. Glass fiber demand in other reinforced applications, such as asphalt construction products, mechanical rubber products, paper products and fabrics is projected to rise 2.3 percent yearly to 1.3 billion pounds in 2007. The best prospects are expected in mechanical rubber reinforcement applications, based on usage in a broad range of industrial component applications. Asphalt construction products will continue to account for the largest portion of glass fibers demand in other reinforced uses, a benefit of above-average growth for laminated shingles, which utilize 30 percent more glass fiber than standard asphalt shingles. Among nonreinforced uses, filtration and other smaller markets such as battery separators will provide good opportunities based on rising demand in high efficiency filtration and other applications. US industry concentration The US glass fiber industry is highly concentrated as a result of the large capital costs involved and needs to achieve certain economies of scale for profitability. All of the leading US glass fiber manufacturers operate globally and are among the leaders worldwide as well. Merger and acquisition activity is expected to continue as firms seek to expand existing operations, maintain economies of scale, enlarge market share and/or diversify into more promising markets or products. These and other key findings are detailed in Glass Fibers, a new Freedonia study. This study presents historical data (1992, 1997, 2002) plus forecasts to 2007 and 2012 by type (glass wool insulation, textile glass fibers) and market (construction, motor vehicles, marine, electrical and electronic, consumer and others). Optical glass fibers are excluded from the scope of this study. In addition, an examination of the market environment includes an overview of end uses such as construction and insulation, as well as pricing factors and international activity. The industry structure is assessed in terms of market share, merger and acquisition activity, research efforts and other competitive factors. Profiles are provided for key glass fiber producers, as well as producers of glass fiber fabrics, and compounders and manufacturers of reinforced plastic resins and products.

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SAMPE 2003 a Resounding Success

9th June 2003 0 comments

The 2003 SAMPE 2003 Symposium & Exhibition was a resounding success according to Thomas Haulik, SAMPE International President. Haulik indicated that “”SAMPE 2003 was well attended, held a specifically strong technical program, and fulfilled attendee and exhibitor desires based on the feedback we received during the week. As an organization, SAMPE is strong and positioned for solid growth as we enter our 60th anniversary year.”” Attendance figures clearly indicate that SAMPE 2003 was a success even with strong international activities associated with the SARS disease, the Iraq war situation and perceived economic concerns. Doris Weaver, Registration and Proceedings Manager, indicated that only a few author presentation cancellations from the Pacific Rim affected the 237 technical paper presentations. Mrs. Weaver indicated that “”the overall total registrations remained constant compared to last year but the total paid conference registrations was up about 9 percent and SAMPE’s educational tutorials showed greater than a 15 percent increase over last year.”” The strong interest in nanotechnology, wind energy, resin infusion technology and preforms, fire safe materials and infrastructure continues to draw attendees to hear the latest in leading edge technology. The Outstanding Technical Paper Award went to authors from 3TEX Inc. and the University of Dayton Research Institute for their article on “”Fabrication of 3-D Woven Preforms and Composites with Integrated Fiber Optic Sensors.”” Exhibitors acknowledged to apparent increase in technology interest and floor traffic brought on, in part with SAMPE’s addition of three continuous technology demonstrations on the exhibition floor and the annual Bridge Building contest. Rosemary Loggia, Exhibits Manager noted that “”the exhibitors expressed the opinion that SAMPE 2003 interest and enthusiasm was much higher this year. NASA had a strong presence with their central booth on technology transfer and a number of previous SAMPE exhibitors returned this year. Several previous exhibitors have already noted that they will definitely be back to SAMPE 2004 as a result of the desire to exhibit their newest technology. These companies, while not exhibiting this year, were attendees and have already committed their participation for 2004.”” Taiwan had an extensive pavilion area that reflected the growth in composites and plastics technology in that region. SAMPE recently reorganized their Technical Committees by expanding the market and technology areas being covered in todays materials and processing (M&P) world. Anthony Falcone, SAMPE International Senior Vice President, and Dr. Scott Beckwith, SAMPE International Technical Director, organized a well-attended panel of experts on Technology and Market Trends in Advanced M&P. The latest leading edge technology, market growth, and technical challenges and issues were discussed after presentations by each of the 12 Technical Committee Chairs. Because of the attendance of over 100 people, and the extension of the session past its intended time, SAMPE will consider this as an annual update of technology and market status for future conferences. Anthony Falcone indicated “”the Panel and strong interaction far surpassed our original expectations. The questions and interchange provided a much better understanding of current M&P and issues facing growth as SAMPE promotes technology expansion.””

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Management Changes Announced at SP

9th June 2003 0 comments

Paul Rudling, CEO of SP, has announced the appointment of Andy Day as Managing Director and Adrian Williams as Head of Sales. Paul Rudling will continue in his role as CEO but these changes will allow him to devote more time to the company’s long-term strategy, positioning and performance within the recently formed Gurit Composite Technologies group, as well as overseeing an aggressive growth initiative that was launched at the start of 2003. Andy Day will manage the day-to-day activities of the SP headquarters in the UK and Adrian Williams, previously SP’s Wind Energy Business Manager, will be managing all sales activities for the company. “The purpose of these internal changes is to move the organisation forward in tandem with our overall business strategy. With a pool of such dedicated and experienced staff within the senior management team, I am confident the transition will be a smooth one”, remarked Paul Rudling.

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New Maxi For Sydney Hobart

9th June 2003 0 comments

The largest ocean racing yacht ever built in Australia, a 30 metre super maxi for Victorian yachtsman Grant Wharington, will contest this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. This most innovative of Wharington’s line of fast boats named Wild Thing is under construction at Mornington, Victoria, and is due to be launched in late August. At 30m (100 feet) length overall (LOA), the new Wild Thing will have a state-of-the-art canting keel and will just fit within the maximum LOA and IRC upper handicap limit imposed by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. “Line honours in the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is our goal,” Wharington said today. A detailed technical insight into the design concept and construction of the new Wild Thing by chief designer and structural engineer Don Jones is published in the June/July edition of Offshore Yachting magazine. The hull, which is now at an advanced state of construction, is moulded in unidirectional carbon/aramid over an end-grain balsa core. The boat will have a 15/16 fractional rig with non-overlapping headsails, with optional sloop/cutter rig. The mast is being built by Applied Composites in Melbourne. After launching and rigging the new Wild Thing in Melbourne in late August, Wharington and his crew plan to extensively test the boat and sails in Bass Strait and southern Tasmanian waters before bring the super maxi to Sydney in December.

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Northwest Composites in Community College program

9th June 2003 0 comments

Northwest Composites Inc. will give students in the college’s new materials science technology program 100 hours’ use of their autoclave. The students will use a Northwest Composite autoclave, said Jerilee Mosier, the vice president of workforce development at the college. It’s a key step in the process of manufacturing with composites, said Bill Karman, Northwest Composites’ vice president of research and development. But autoclaves are expensive, he said. The one the company will let students use has computer controls to adjust temperature and air pressure, and would cost about $1 million if the school were to buy it new. Having Northwest Composites donate the use of its equipment means that students “”can use industry-standard autoclaves to really see what happens to the material,”” Mosier said. Students will develop composite pieces in their college classes, then bring it to Northwest Composites where “”we will cook it for them,”” Karman said. Supporting the new EdCC program helps the company because it provides better-trained workers for the industry, Northwest Composites manager Jerry Goodwin said in a statement announcing the donation. “”We are always seeking highly skilled people who understand materials technology, especially composites materials and processing,”” Goodwin said. The new Edmonds Community College program is intended to train workers in handling the new materials, so they could take entry-level jobs as technicians in aerospace or with other manufacturers that use composites, including boat builders. EdCC’s materials science technology program is expected to debut this fall, with a first group of 25 to 30 students, Mosier said. That will expand to about 50 students by winter quarter. The program is being funded by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. The program also is expected to coordinate with a proposed new material science research program at the University of Washington. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has proposed federal funding for that four-year program. In addition, Central Washington University plans to offer both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in materials science at its Lynnwood branch campus. The EdCC classes would serve as the first two years of course work toward those degrees.

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Mitsubishi Rayon Awarded Contract for Airbus A380 Super Jumbo Program

9th June 2003 0 comments

The European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus has announced that Mitsubishi Rayon has been selected as a supplier of advanced composite materials for use in the A380 program for the development and production of the next-generation super jumbo passenger aircraft. Mitsubishi Rayon will supply various Airbus factories with UD pre-preg, woven pre-preg, and specialty resin for composite materials. These products will incorporate two types of carbon fiber of medium elasticity and high tensile strength, which will be produced at an equity-method affiliate Structil S.A. in France and the Toyohashi Plant in Japan. The Company’s products are currently under testing by Airbus with a view to receiving certification for the relevant quality standards by the end of calendar 2004. The full-scale supply of the materials is thus scheduled to begin in early 2005. The move by Airbus is expected to significantly accelerate Mitsubishi Rayon’s progress in expanding the field of industrial applications for its carbon fiber products.

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Test Backs Shuttle Foam Theory

9th June 2003 0 comments

Investigators into the Columbia disaster have demonstrated for the first time that a chunk of foam like the one that hit the space shuttle shortly after launch can damage the heat-protective covering at the front of the wing. A 1.7-pound piece of foam fired from a special cannon at a test rig made of parts from another shuttle created a 3-inch crack in the carbon material that protects the front of the wing and a crack in an adjoining seal made of the same material. It also slightly dislodged the carbon-fiber panels. The test brings the Columbia Accident Investigation Board a step closer to proving that the foam that hit the front edge of the shuttle’s wing somehow opened a hole that allowed hot gases to enter and burn up the ship on re-entry. But the damage in the test was less than investigators predicted and falls short of conclusive proof. Most of the crack ran along a section of the carbon panel that is protected from the severe heat of re-entry. Only 3/4 of an inch of the crack was visible on the outside, where temperatures reach as high as 3,000 degrees. “”This is the first evidence that we have that a piece of foam that approximates what was observed in the accident can in fact crack and damage”” the wing panels, said accident board member Scott Hubbard. “”To me that’s a step forward, maybe even a significant step forward, in our knowledge,”” Hubbard said. Later on, investigators were still uncovering additional damage. The crack in the seal next to the 3-inch crack was not revealed until five hours after the 2:15 p.m. CT test. Investigation board spokesman Laura Brown said she did not have details about the size of the crack in the seal. However, Hubbard said it’s still too early to draw any conclusions from the test. Some of the world’s leading experts in the wing material were “”scratching their heads”” as they assessed the initial results, Hubbard said. Columbia broke apart and burned up on Feb. 1 as it re-entered the atmosphere. The searing gases of re-entry penetrated the left wing and vaporized the shuttle from within. Shortly after Columbia lifted off on Jan. 16, NASA engineers examining photographs of the launch spotted a fuzzy piece of foam striking the shuttle’s left wing. Since the accident, the photos have been enhanced and studied at great length. Investigators believe the foam came from the exterior of the huge orange fuel tank bolted to the shuttle’s belly. Friday’s test was an attempt to replicate the impact as precisely as possible. The test chunk of foam — measuring 19 by 11 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches — was shot from a 35-foot-long cannon at about 530 mph, the estimated speed of the impact on Columbia’s wing. It was aimed at a replica of the curved front edge of the shuttle’s wing and struck it at an angle of 20 degrees. The test was conducted at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, which is performing work for the accident board. A battery of 12 high-speed cameras and 199 electronic sensors recorded every twist and turn of the wing structure. The impact itself took less than 1/1,000 of a second and was barely visible to the naked eye. The section of the wing replica where the foam struck was a carbon panel that had made 30 flights on the shuttle Discovery. In a test last week on fiberglass panels that are similar to the shuttle’s carbon panels, the force of the impact was seven times greater than investigators had predicted. One of the vexing questions to arise during the accident investigation is why such tests are only being conducted now, 22 years after the shuttle began flying. That issue is expected to be explored in the accident board’s final report. While Columbia was in orbit, engineers with NASA and its private contractors determined that the foam could not have significantly damaged the shuttle. They were so convinced that the carbon panels could not be damaged that they barely considered the possibility. Even after Columbia and its seven astronauts were lost, NASA officials initially dismissed the possibility that carbon panels could be damaged from foam. However, growing evidence from recovered wreckage, thermal studies of the wing and available flight data makes it almost certain that hot gases entered through a breach in a carbon panel.

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Arrest Made in 3rd Pig Vandalism

9th June 2003 0 comments

A man spotted punching one of the Lafayette Hog Wild! Fiberglass pigs was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication over the weekend. Lt. Jason Dombkowski of the West Lafayette Police Department said Officer Danny Phillips witnessed 32-year-old Monte L. Early of the 1600 block of West County Road 50 North punching Porker Pete shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday near the intersection of Chauncey and State streets. Dombkowski said Early gave the officer a bizarre explanation for why he had attacked the pig statue. Police also are investigating whether Early’s actions damaged the pig. The pig, created by Doug and JoAnn Lohr and modeled after Purdue University’s Purdue Pete, had a gold helmet knocked from its head. However, the gold helmet was recovered in some bushes behind 45 N. Salisbury St., Dombkowski said, and was turned in to Purdue police Tuesday. “”We’re unsure if he actually damaged the pig,”” Dombkowski said. “”But the fact that he was punching it leads us to believe it’s probable.”” Whether Early caused the pig’s damage or not, it’s the third pig vandalized or stolen since the 51 fiberglass pieces of public art went on display last month, mostly in downtown Lafayette-West Lafayette. Lady Godiva Arrives on an Urban Primitive was vandalized May 27 when someone broke off an impressionistic figurine of Lady Godiva riding on the pig’s back. The pig sat near West Lafayette’s Riverside Skating Center. And on May 15 someone stole Pigtriotic, completely ripping it from it’s moorings on a 400-pound concrete slab in front of It’s a Theme Thing, 632 Main Street. No arrests have been made in either case. But West Lafayette’s pigs, at least, are going to be watched more closely by police. .

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