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Composites Industry News

News for November 2005


New Range of Glass Reinforcements from Lintex

11th November 2005 0 comments

Lintex Europe’s range of glass fabrics now includes multiaxials, woven roving and yarns as well as combinations with chopped strand mat. These materials are made in a new facility situated in the China Warp Knitting Scientific and Industrial Zone 110km east of Shanghai, using state of the art machinery from Liba and Karl Meyer and quality systems to recognized international standards, including ISO 9001, and Lloyds.

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Johns Manville to Build New Nonwoven Glass Mat Production Line

11th November 2005 0 comments

Johns Manville plans to build a new nonwoven glass mat production line, capable of producing one billion square metres of glass mat per year, at its facility in Etowah, in the US.

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New President for EPTA – Past Chairman goes to EuCIA

11th November 2005 0 comments

Luigi Giamundo became the new President of The European Pultrusion Technology Association (EPTA) at the association’s AGM in Amsterdam.

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White Young Green Specialist Structures Seminar

11th November 2005 0 comments

White Young Green (WYG) Specialist Structures Division is holding a series of UK interactive breakfast seminars on the use of FRP (Fibre Reinforced Polymer) composite materials within the construction industry. They are working in close association with The National Composites Network and Network Group for Composites in Construction (NGCC) to promote the advantages of modern materials with innovative design and engineering to provide efficient, optimised solutions to meet clients’ requirements. The Specialist Structures Division, based in Southampton, have completed projects in virtually every industry, ranging from something as small as titanium hip joints to large structures such as a classroom of the future. They have been working to develop unusual building structures such as hanging office space, landmark features, large sculptures and public art projects. David Kendall, Director of Specialist Structures commented: “No concept is too strange for us to consider – we love the challenge. We are helped by computational analysis capabilities which enable unusual structures to be analysed, including those outside of normal codes and guidelines. The series of interactive seminars throughout the UK are designed to introduce our innovative capabilities to a wider audience who may have demanding problems in the design and engineering aspects of a project.” The first seminars are in Bristol on the 29th November and Cardiff on the 30th November.

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Saint-Gobain Develops High Technology Radome for Bombardier Challenger and CRJ

11th November 2005 0 comments

Saint-Gobain Flight Structures has introduced a new concept of nose radome for the Bombardier Challenger business jet and CRJ regional jet aircraft. The innovative design features high technology internal lightning diverters, lightweight composite components and the incorporation of their Norton Armor and Stormview radome technologies. Stormview is claimed to provide enhanced radar vision through better signal transmission, whilst Norton Armor provides protection from in flight erosion and damage. “This new radome brings the latest and best in radome technology to the Bombardier aircraft”, stated Eric Hilliard, Business Manager for Flight Structures. “The internal diverters not only make the radome look sleek, but they will greatly improve in-service life by reducing the common erosion problems seen in paint and diverters on radomes.” Saint-Gobain is obtaining the FAA STC-PMA approval for this leading edge radome for the commercial aftermarket which is expected by year end. The radome was designed to achieve a high transmission efficiency, and the radome meets Class A, and Category 1 requirements for RTCA/DO-213.

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Korea Develops Hydrogen Container for Fuel-Cell Cars

11th November 2005 0 comments

A new type of hydrogen storage container received approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation in September and is now commercially available, according to the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology. The new container was developed after a two-year joint effort between a local research institute and a company which specializes in producing composite high-pressurized containers. The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials and Innocom Co. said that they succeeded in commercializing a composite high-pressurized hydrogen storage container – claimed to be the world’s second following the United States. The hydrogen storage container, normally used in portable air breathers and natural gas vehicles, has received plenty of global attention since its use has expanded to hydrogen fuel-cell cars for use as the hydrogen fuel tank. “”A composite type of container has advantages compared with the steel container in terms of weight and safety,”” said Dr. Park Ji-sang of KIMM who participated in the development project. “”This container, surrounded by carbon epoxy composites, will not burst, unlike a steel one. Hydrogen will leak out of the vessel before bursting.”” KIMM and Innocom Co. said their composite high-pressurized containers for hydrogen fuel-cell cars will hit the market next year.

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North Coast RTM Tooling Innovations: Case Study

11th November 2005 0 comments

The unitized and fastenerless all-composite vertical tail, developed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin as part of its self-funded Advanced Affordability Initiative, was developed with North Coast to explore RTM as a way to reduce costs. The Lockheed design for the 13-ft long and 5-ft wide tail part involved two external skins unitized by a series of fourteen hollow torque tubes to handle structural loads. The challenge, says North Coast’s president and CEO Rich Petrovich, was designing a tool that could produce such a large and complex unitized part in one shot. “It came down to planning, and it involved not only the tool, but ancillary equipment used for loading the tool, and injecting the part, and a clamp to overcome the injection pressure. We think about preform loading, clamping, injection, disassembly, and handling. There’s a lot to be considered.” The torque tubes, each with a unique shape and dimension, turned out to be a critical cost driver for the overall project. To create them, North Coast designed a series of interlocking and tapering mandrels using 6061T6 aluminium, slightly undersized to accommodate the reinforcement preform. Because aluminium has a higher coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) than steel, North Coast counted on expansion of the mandrels against the 4140 mould steel to provide proper compaction and consolidation of the materials. Yet, the long, narrow mandrels, from 90” to 100” in length, proved problematic when it came to developing a layup approach. Dry broadgoods as well as prepreg had to be eliminated as too costly and complicated. The solution was a triaxial braided sock preform, produced by A&P Technology (Cincinnati, Ohio). Because the mandrels’ root ends were several times the size of the tips, standard biaxial braid would have created too much fibre volume at the narrower ends. A&P was able to address this with the company’s trademarked Megabraider large braiding machine. Numerical controls adjusted the braid angles during preform fabrication to account for the progressively smaller diameters. North Coast was able to develop an innovative ancillary device, essentially a long hook-shaped arm that accommodated easy preform loading. The device’s cantilevered arm bolted onto the root end of each mandrel, counterbalancing the mandrel’s weight. That left its entire length free for technicians to slip the required number of braids over it, align the fibres, and load it in the correct position in the tool. Petrovich explains that the ancillary device worked because the design department anticipated the awkwardness of handling the aluminium mandrels which were only held at one end and cantilevered in space. Provisions were designed into the handling device to account for the changing centre of gravity for each of the fourteen mandrels’ weights and lengths. Tail skins were layed up with a combination of fabric and unidirectional tape material. The selected resin was Cytec Engineered Materials’ bismaleimide (BMI) resin. To address resin flow through all parts of the large mould, says Petrovich, a method was needed to ensure that the resin would flow and wet out both the skins and the torque tubes completely. While Lockheed Martin chose to undertake a detailed rheological study of resin flow fronts as part of the project, North Coast independently designed and built the mould with directed resin injection and venting (DRIV) inserts in the skin surfaces. This ensured that resin flow could be orchestrated, observed and verified. “The inserts help take the ‘black art’ out of the RTM process, they reduce the risk. You don’t want to depend on uncontrolled flooding and you can’t raise injection pressures too high. Higher injection pressure means higher clamping pressures which translates into mould deflection, and the possibility of fibre wash (fabric movement).” In this particular instance, DRIV inserts were positioned between the mandrels in the surface of the mould. Resin was introduced through machined troughs along the four edges of the two skin faces. Once resin reached each insert, indicated by a telltale emission of resin through the vent hole, that insert was turned off and the next row of inserts turned on. “The inserts enabled better wetout at lower injection pressure,” states Petrovich. “That meant less material was needed for the mould to overcome injection pressure which reduced overall tooling cost and made the moulds easier to handle and heat.” One additional innovation not only made part production easier but also significantly reduced the overall project cost. A large, multi-million dollar press had originally been specified to hold and clamp the two skin moulds together but schedule delays forced a different solution. North Coast designed a straightforward and cost-effective clamp to secure the two mould halves as well as a simple rectangular steel I-beam frame to hold the assembled tool in its upright position. Then, aluminium wedges were inserted between the mould and frame. Again the CTE difference meant that during mould heating the aluminium expanded more than the frame itself, which ensured continuous wedge pressure. “The out-of-press design saved the project a lot of money,” says Petrovich. “Taking advantage of things like DRIV inserts, CTE differential, and simple tooling aids is just one example of how we use tooling to ensure project success.“ North Coast Tool & Mould, begun in 1976, produces high quality and highly accurate metal tooling for the aerospace composites industry, with RTM a key part of its business. North Coast Composites was begun in 2003 to produce parts for outside customers.

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ICT introduces lightweight composite privacy fence board

18th November 2005 0 comments

Integrated Composite Technologies has added to its variety of wood plastic composite (WPC) building products with a product is aimed at the flourishing privacy fence market. Made from a sustainable, renewable composite containing recycled wood fibre and plastics, ICT’s new dog-eared privacy fence board offers the look of traditional notched corner wood fence boards, but with the advantages of a modern WPC fence board. Both weight and density are reduced through a proprietary blowing process that allows fasteners to be used without splitting the board. The resulting WPC fence board is not only significantly lighter in weight than wood, but it is also claimed that it will not rot or splinter like traditional wood boards. ICT manufactures private label OEM products, as well as products sold under the company’s own brand name, EverGreen Wood Composites.

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Brown University Scientists Testing Toxicity of Nanomaterials

18th November 2005 0 comments

Through a new four-year, $1.8-million National Science Foundation grant, Brown University scientists are testing a variety of nanomaterials to see how they interact with human and animal cells. The aim of the work is to find out which sizes, shapes, compounds and coatings damage or kill cells. That information can be used to manufacture non-toxic types. “The question isn’t whether nanomaterials are good or bad,” said Robert Hurt, a Brown professor of engineering and the lead investigator on the project. “The question is which are toxic? Under what conditions? And can we make and purify them in different ways to avoid toxicity – to make ‘green’ nanomaterials?” The grant supports important early work at Brown in an emerging field of environmental health. According to the Institute of Medicine, the federal government last year invested nearly $1 billion in nanotechnology, yet little is known about how engineered nanoparticles affect human health. To fill the knowledge gap, the National Science Foundation and other government agencies are spending a total of $38.4 million this fiscal year in research on the environmental, health and safety aspects of nanomaterials. A journal, Nanotoxicology, was launched this year along with the first database of research on the biological and environmental impacts of nanoparticles. Hurt said nanoparticles have captured the imaginations of materials scientists and chemists because they have desirable properties such as extreme strength or outstanding electrical or thermal conductivity. However, a small number of animal studies show that some nanomaterials can damage brain or lung tissue or block blood flow. To better understand which materials are toxic and which are safe, the Brown project takes a multidisciplinary approach. In the Division of Engineering, Hurt and colleague Gregory Crawford are creating carbon nanotubes, fibres and spheres – all popular in electronics – by the billions. Crawford is arranging the materials on glass slides based on size, shape and chemical composition, a novel “chip” platform that will allow for precise, systematic testing. The chips will then head to Jeffrey Morgan and Agnes Kane at Brown Medical School. Morgan, a biologist and tissue engineer, will test the materials’ affect on lab-grown human skin cells. Kane, a pathologist, will test the materials on macrophages, cells that defend against foreign invaders, culled from mice. Both will check to see if cells die, incur DNA damage or trigger exaggerated immune defences. Phil Brown, professor of sociology and environmental studies, will explore the social and ethical implications of nanotechnology and how to communicate health exposure risks to the public, including faculty and students who work with nanomaterials in campus labs.

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New manufacturing process enables larger nanotube production volumes

18th November 2005 0 comments

High-quality carbon nanotubes (CNT) for a wide variety of applications can now be manufactured on an industrial scale at considerably lower costs than before. Bayer MaterialScience AG plans to market the nano-sized materials worldwide under the trade name Baytubes. The new process for manufacturing Baytubes was developed in collaboration with Bayer Technology Services GmbH, a Bayer Group service company with of know-how in process technology. Until now, the high price of up to EUR 1,000.00 per kilogram and the fluctuating production quality prevented more widespread use of nanotubes, and it is claimed that these prices will now reduce. “For the first time, we can achieve consistent material purity of over 99 percent and significantly reduce manufacturing costs,” says Martin Schmid, head of the Carbon Nanotubes project at Bayer MaterialScience. “Adding just small quantities of Baytubes can make a plastic car fender so electrically conductive that it can be painted without any further pretreatment, using environmentally friendly waterborne or powder coatings. In a similar manner, we can make films for antistatic packaging materials, such as those used for sophisticated electronic components.” Another possibility is the electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding of computer and mobile telephone housings. In the future, CNTs could also improve the thermal conductivity of ceramic components in turbines. “Baytubes brand carbon nanotubes are multi-walled tubes comprising up to 15 graphite layers. Chemically speaking, the material is identical to pencil lead,” explains Dr. Sigurd Buchholz, project head at Bayer Technology Services. “The nanotubes have a maximum mean diameter of 50 nanometers, meaning they’re more than 10,000 times thinner than a human hair. If one of these tubes were enlarged to the size of a drinking straw, it would be up to 250 meters long!” Custom-made CNTs with different diameters, lengths and wall thicknesses can be produced by selecting the corresponding catalyst.

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