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Composites Industry News

News for September 2009


ACG Prepreg Used in Hydrogen-Powered Car

11th September 2009 0 comments

Vehicle weight often attributes a great deal to a cars fuel efficiency, which is why Riversimple used Advanced Composites Group’s composite materials in its recent hydrogen-powered concept car.

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Carbon Copying the ‘Stradivarius’ Sound

11th September 2009 0 comments

Researchers at The University of Nottingham have used carbon fibre technology to produce a violin which they aim to rival the sound of a traditionally-made Stradivarius.

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PPG to Increase Price of Chopped Strand Fibre Glass

18th September 2009 0 comments

PPG Industries’ fibre glass business has today confirmed that it is raising prices 5 to 7 percent effective Oct. 1, or as permissible by contract, for all thermoplastic chopped strand and thermoset dry chopped strand products. “The increase in chopped strand pricing reflects the increasing costs of raw materials and historically weak pricing in the market,” said Kevin McDonald, PPG general manager, fibre glass. “As worldwide demand returns, price increases are needed to cover cost increases and enable reinvestment in furnace capacity.” PPG’s price increases will affect all thermoplastic chopped strand and thermoset dry chopped strand products.

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AOC Starts European Production of Vipel Vinyl Esters

18th September 2009 0 comments

Vipel vinyl ester resins, such as bisphenol A vinyl esters and high elongation vinyl esters will now be available from AOC manufacturing facilities in Europe. The Vipel vinyl esters combine with Vipel unsaturated polyesters to form a range of materials which manufacturers say will help to optimize the manufacturing process and meet performance specifications. Vipel vinyl esters are currently used in the energy, chemical processing, food processing, infrastructure and other sectors where equipment is exposed to highly corrosive environments. Vipel vinyl ester technologies are also available for marine laminates, barriers and skin coats. According to AOC, Vipel corrosion-resistant resins can be formulated to be process-friendly in filament winding, hand lay-up, spray-up, resin transfer molding, resin infusion and other composite manufacturing operations.

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Airbus Predicts Demand for 25,000 Aircraft Within Next 20 years

18th September 2009 0 comments

According to Airbus’ latest projections, due to economic factors such as evolving airlines, expansion of low cost carries and the increase of ‘mega cities’, the global Airline market will see the delivery of 25,000 new aeroplanes between now and 2028. Larger, eco-efficient aircraft are expected to help ease aircraft congestion and to accommodate growth on existing routes. “Air transportation is a growth industry, and an essential ingredient in the world economy,” says Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers John Leahy. “Technology and innovation are key drivers for an eco-efficient aviation sector, and Airbus is at the forefront of both.” Airbus believe that air traffic growth, increased frequencies, cost reduction, environmental responsibilities and airport congestion are increasingly influencing airlines to capitalise on the benefits of larger aircraft, particularly within aircraft families by minimising training and maintenance costs. According to their data, in the US in 2007, airlines wasted 740 million gallons of fuel in congestion delays, equivalent to 32,000 London to New York flights. Airbus say that bigger aircraft with reduced CO2 emissions are a solution. In the last 10 years aircraft have increased in size by three per cent and Airbus predicts that by 2028, the average aircraft will be 26 per cent bigger than today. Because of these projected figures, it is expected that aircraft like the A380 and composite-based A350XWB will be key to Airbus’ future success.

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Zoltek Forms New Wind Energy Development Alliance

18th September 2009 0 comments

Zoltek Companies have formalised an agreement with Global Blade Technology (GBT) with the intention of accelerating the design and manufacture of wind turbine blades utilizing Zoltek carbon fibres. GBT offers design, engineering, prototype development, testing and manufacturing assistance for new and existing wind turbine and independent turbine blade manufacturers. “”We are pleased to announce this alliance with GBT, which we believe can have strategic value to Zoltek by playing a key role in facilitating and speeding up the whole process of design and development at the leading edge of the wind turbine business,”” said Zsolt Rumy, Zoltek’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “”We are gratified that GBT has recognized Zoltek’s commercial carbon fibres as the key enabling material in designing and building the most efficient and powerful wind turbines. We look forward to working cooperatively with them to develop customer relationships in this growing global market that will benefit both of our organizations,”” added Rumy. Under the agreement, GBT has agreed to actively promote Zoltek carbon fibres in the development of blade designs when the performance parameters are ideally suited to these materials.

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Nanocyl Broadens Portfolio

18th September 2009 0 comments

Nanocyl has broadened its portfolio of Pregcyl prepreg materials for advanced composite applications. Pregcyl is a family of carbon nanotube epoxy resin prepregs that are designed to add structural conductivity, strength, durability and weight reduction to fibre-reinforced composite materials used in aeronautic, automotive, marine and sports applications. The new Pregcyl product line, announced at JEC this year, will now have more than 15 products, including new weavings, weights, and types of fibres such as aramid, HM carbon, HT carbon, and glass. “Offering our OEM customers a wider range of Pregcyl prepregs will help them to better meet the global demand for producing higher-performing materials and products at a lower total cost,” said Luca Mezzo, Nanocyl’s manager of R&D and business development for structural composites. “Other OEMS can benefit too,” Mezzo added. “Our Pregcyl prepregs can give them the performance advantages of safety, conductivity and reinforcement they must have for their rugged, lighter-weight composite applications.” Pregcyl is one of three CNT product lines Nanocyl offers for high performance composite parts and materials. The other two are Epocyl and SIZCYL. Epocyl is a family of carbon nanotube epoxy resin systems that Nanocyl say add structural conductivity, strength, durability and weight reduction to fibre-reinforced composite materials used in aeronautic, automotive, marine and sports applications. Sizcyl is a new generation of efficient, all-purpose sizing agents for infusion and RTM composite manufacturing of aeronautic and sports applications. It serves as an alternative to conventional solutions that affect resin viscosity.

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Axion Complete Composite Eco Bridges

18th September 2009 0 comments

Axion International Holdings has just completed the construction of two 100% recycled plastic bridges for the US Army. The eco-friendly structural building materials used in the bridges have been specifically engineered to allow for the crossing of heavy military vehicles. To date, recycled plastic has mainly been used in non-structural or low-stress applications such as park benches, picnic tables, and residential decking. With Axion`s patented technology, structural-grade reinforced plastic building materials are an emerging technology for use in load-bearing construction. Constructed from 100% recycled high load plastic, the construction of the plastic bridges at Fort Bragg utilized approximately 84,828 pounds of recycled plastic. These plastic designs do not contain any wood material and are inherently resistant to rot and attack by insects without the need for chemical treatments. Innovative plastic I-beam components were used to support the heavy loads and to provide a design that is cost-competitive to a treated-wood bridge designed to carry the same load. “”The military provides a compelling validator for Axion`s high-growth business model and our cutting-edge technology,”” said James Kerstein, Chief Executive Officer. “”Not only are Axion`s bridges eco-friendly, they are superior in their structural properties and remarkably cost-effective. We strongly believe the success of these prototypes will lead to significantly more business from the military.””

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Araldite Help ORECA 01 Team to Victory

18th September 2009 0 comments

ORECA 01, aided by its composite chassis, took its first victory of the La Mans Series with a win at Silverstone, finishing ahead of Aston Martin Racing who filled the remaining podium spaces. Huntsman’s RenShape SL resins were used in the car to make 400 different configurations in just two months. RenShape BM 5055 tooling boards were also extensively employed for prototype moulds for carbon pre-pegs, as well as Araldite adhesives and composites; the front bonnet of the ORECA racing car is made of more than 15 parts, but looks like one part. The ORECA car has had other successes this season, having already won several podium finishes before the victory at Silverstone.

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Southwest Nanotechnologies Introduces Speciality Carbon Nanotubes

18th September 2009 0 comments

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT), has recently revealed a new category of Carbon Nanotube (CNT) materials it refers to as “Specialty” Multi-Wall (SMW). These new SWeNT SMW 100 materials were developed for polymer composites that require better electrical and mechanical performance than are possible from conventional Multi-Wall CNT, without the cost or dispersion difficulties associated with Single-Wall CNT. Target applications for SMW materials include conductive polymers, reinforced elastomers, and “Bucky Paper” materials for structural composite manufacturing. “SWeNT’s new specialty multiwall category fills the ‘space’ between SWCNT and conventional Multiwall CNT,” explains Rick Jansen, vice president of sales and marketing for SouthWest Nano. “Traditional Multi-Wall CNT products are typically used as a conductive additive for thermoplastic polymers, enabling moulded plastic parts to be sufficiently electrically conductive and provide electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection. However, this electrical conductivity benefit often results in mechanical properties being compromised compared with the unfilled polymer. SMW can reduce or eliminate this compromise at a fraction of the cost of Single-Wall CNT,” Jansen continued. CEO, Dave Arthur, added, “Our first SMW offering, SWeNT SMW 100, opens up several new market opportunities for us. Previously, SWeNT has mainly focused on coatings applications. With SMW 100, we can now provide an affordable alternative to Single-Wall CNT for bulk applications like polymer composites. The improved performance of SMW 100 compared with traditional Multi-Wall CNT is due to the structure of the tubes: fewer walls and smaller diameter than traditional Multi-Wall CNT. This results in less ‘wasted’ carbon (since only the outer walls contribute to conductivity) and less breakage of tubes during compounding (since the tubes have fewer defects and exhibit greater flexibility).”

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