New research from VCAMM shows the Quickstep manufacturing process can result in improvements in the structure of nanocomposite materials, leading to enhanced performance characteristics.
The research was conducted by the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing (VCAMM) in Australia in conjunction with the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO), which has independently verified all research conducted to date. The project was selected by ANSTO to be completed under the organisation’s prestigious research scholarship programme.
Dr Bronwyn Fox, who heads the team of composites researchers at VCAMM, said Quickstep’s manufacturing technique resulted in a more even separation of the nano sized particles throughout the composite material, significantly enhancing their overall effect.
“Our research has focused on comparing the structure of clay platelet particles in epoxy thermoset materials manufactured using different processing techniques,” she said. “Preliminary results indicate that the mechanical vibrations used in the Quickstep Process assist in separation, ensuring the platelets are evenly separated throughout the composite material. Faster heating also allows the polymer to get in between the clay platelets to further improve separation.”
“Improved particle separation enhances the overall quality of the nanocomposite product,” Dr Fox continued. “When examining fire retardation properties, our research shows that using the Quickstep Process should lead to significant improvements in performance characteristics.”
Quickstep’s Managing Director, Mr Nick Noble, said the research had exciting implications for the Company’s core strategy of securing manufacturing contracts and joint ventures with aerospace and automotive OEMs and their Tier One suppliers.
“Nanocomposite production is a massive growth area in the global composites industry,” he said. “If VCAMM’s research does conclusively prove that the Quickstep Process can offer key enhancements to the characteristics of nanocomposite materials, this would be a major new drawcard in attracting aerospace and automotive manufacturers to the technology.”
Dr Fox commented that the research may revolutionise the nanocomposites industry: “Quickstep has already demonstrated its ability to manufacture cheap nanocomposite materials at a faster rate than other processing techniques. If we can also prove that Quickstep delivers higher-quality nanocomposite products, I believe it would open up a major new market opportunity.”
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