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Composites Industry News

News for April 2010


Oxeon Adds More TeXtreme Capacity

23rd April 2010 0 comments

Oxeon has added new capacity for ultra lightweight spread tow carbon reinforcements in its Boras facility. The company just commissioned a new line and are now about to place orders for more. “The continued growth in demand for ultra light weight fabrics and the great feedback from users of our Spread Tow Fabrics – TeXtreme make us feel very confident in our aggressive expansion plan”, says Andreas Martsman, VP Business Development. He explained further that the success in sporting goods and race cars using TeXtreme has propelled the demand for the spread tow fabric – TeXtreme to new, high levels. They say that composite manufacturers using TeXtreme have been able to reduce weight drastically, up to 25-30%, with the same or even enhanced mechanical performance. “We have experienced a tremendous growth rate in the last years and have been fortunate to have customers that find high enough value in our products to continue to expand their use of TeXtreme even in the recent harsh economic times. Our customers make use of the unique look of TeXtreme in combination with the story behind the enhanced performance to grow the demand for their products. Also, we have found a great interest in the flexibility of our technologies making it possible for us to tailor make and jointly develop optimal structures for various applications.”

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ASTM Composite Materials Committee Approves Latest Standard

23rd April 2010 0 comments

The new standard, ASTM D7565/D7565M, Test Method for Determining Tensile Properties of Fiber Reinforced Polymer Matrix Composites Used for Strengthening of Civil Structures, provides tensile strength and modulus of elasticity, which are key parameters used in the design of a strengthening application. Subcommittee D30.05 on Structural Test Methods has been developing a series of standards addressing polymer reinforced composite materials used in the repair and reinforcement of concrete buildings and other civil structures. The latest approved standard in this series addresses the tension testing of materials that are externally bonded to concrete and other structural materials for repair, retrofit and strengthening purposes. Subcommittee D30.05 is part of ASTM International Committee D30 on Composite Materials. Russell Gentry, D30 member and associate professor at Georgia Tech, says that the new standard differs from the most well-known tension testing standard for composites — ASTM D3039, Test Method for Tensile Properties of Polymer Matrix Composite Materials — in that it provides specific instructions on fabricating specimens and calculating test results in a manner used in the construction industry as these materials are applied and cure in the field, and not in the controlled conditions typical of aerospace applications. According to Gentry, material suppliers, contractors who are applying composite materials and quality control laboratories will be the primary users of ASTM D7565. Three other D30.05 civil infrastructure standards addressing material properties and durability of composite concrete reinforcement are currently under ballot. These proposed standards are: ASTM WK22346, Test Method for Determining Overlap Splice Tensile Properties of Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Matrix Composites Used for Strengthening of Civil Structures; ASTM WK22348, Test Method for Transverse Shear Strength of Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Matrix Composite Bars; and ASTM WK27200, Test Method for Alkali Resistance of Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Matrix Composite Bars Used in Concrete Construction. Gentry notes that much of this standards development work has been done in conjunction with American Concrete Institute (ACI) Committee 440 on Fiber Reinforced Polymer Reinforcement. “We are in our fifth year of an ASTM-ACI collaboration that has produced five test methods so far,” says Gentry, who also notes that greater participation in D30.05 activities is encouraged. “Many of these proposed test methods would benefit from additional review from the civil engineering structures community, and from round robin testing to establish precision and bias.”

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Nidaplast Implements Carbon Footprint Study for Honeycomb Structures

23rd April 2010 0 comments

Nidaplast composites has presented a Bilan Carbone (Carbon Balance Sheet) study assessing CO2 emissions linked to the life cycle of thermoplastic honeycomb structures. “The results of this first carbon footprint study that we have undertaken confirm the value of polypropylene honeycomb structures for manufacturers with a concern for sustainable development, in terms of both design and applications”, explains Luc Nuttens, development engineer at nidaplast composites. Nidaplast say that the lightness of honeycomb (95% void content), sandwiched between two skins, enables structural sandwich panels to be both cost effective and environmentally friendly. “From polyester truck panels to the lightening of structures made of natural stone, such as marble, from made-to-measure products through to mass production, nidaplast honeycomb combines all the fundamental environmental advantages: low consumption of raw materials in a lightweight structure meaning reduced greenhouse gas emissions during the manufacturing and transport processes. The carbon footprint study confirms that nidaplast honeycomb offers its customers products that help provide solutions in terms of eco-design for companies looking, for example, to anticipate future environmental regulations and to adopt a long-term environmental approach”. The Bilan Carbone is a standardised method developed by ADEME to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions generated directly or indirectly by an activity.

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Composite Components Made Easy with Light

23rd April 2010 0 comments

At the JEC Composites Show Fraunhofer researchers showed how lasers can make the manufacturing of structures out of fibre-reinforced thermoplastics efficient, clean, reliable and automatic. To facilitate the fully-automated production of components out of fibre-reinforced thermoplastics, engineers and scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT have developed a new process. Carbon fibres are impregnated with thermoplastic resin and multiple layers are stacked on top of each other – heated by a laser just before being laid down – and then compressed into a compact structure. The tape strips fuse with each other and cool off quickly, because the laser rapidly emits precisely measured doses of energy in a targeted manner onto the material. This minimizes the expenditure of energy and time. IPT say that, compared to prior manufacturing processes – for instance, joining tapes with hot air – the quality is even better. Creating bonds with lasers Fraunhofer researchers also presented a new joining technology for glass- fibre-reinforced thermoplastics. “”All we need for this is a laser that emits infrared light,”” explained Wolfgang Knapp of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT. “”The infrared laser melts the surface of the plastic components. If you compress them when they are still fluid and then let them harden, then the result is an extraordinarily stable bond.”” “”The materials must withstand immense acceleration, vibrations and temperature differences, so a 200-percent level of safety is required,”” explains Knapp. In conjunction with his colleagues, he optimized the laser joining process: “”The know-how sticks in the process control: in determining the gap between laser head and surface; in controlling the time which the laser beam lingers on substrate; in calibrating the pressure.”” Materials for the extreme case IPT say that the possible uses of laser beams in the production and processing of fibre-reinforced thermoplastics are absolutely limitless: “”The new joining techniques are suitable for all thermoplastic materials that are subjected to extreme strains,”” concluded Knapp, who coordinated the Fraunhofer joint exhibition booth.

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