All Posts from September, 2009

Against the wind – Resins keep rotor blades together

September 28th, 2009 | By Angela in Exhibitors, Innovation, Wind Energy Industry | No Comments »

Macroplast UK 8340 (marked in red in the picture) is the first polyurethane adhesive for the adhesion of rotor blades certified by Germanischer Lloyd (Photo: Henkel).To ensure their suitability when used in wind energy systems, the epoxy resin adhesives used must be suitably certified by Germanischer Lloyd (GL). This is because rotor blades must withstand extreme stresses. The larger the unit, the higher the demands on the fatigue strength of the rotor blades manufactured from composites. In the near future, experts predict 10 megawatt systems with 80 metre long wind vanes.

The enormous rotor blades consist of two half shells, that are produced in suitable moulds from cross-linked hard foams and inserted balsa woods, which are subsequently stuck together. The balsa wood is cultivated in plantations in Ecuador and is harvested after six years. From a one metre long tree trunk, rectangular timber sections are cut and stuck together to make 1.22 metre long and five centimetre wide ashlars. These blocks are then cut into boards against the grain and finely sprayed with a resin solution to protect them against moisture.

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Sandwich panels – hard on the outside and soft inside

September 28th, 2009 | By Angela in Aerospace Industry, Automotive Industry, Composite production, Exhibitors, Innovation | 3 Comments »

Final inspection of the cut-to-size Polydet GRP panels at Optiplan (Photo: Optiplan).Whether recreational craft, aircraft components such as the fuselage and wing shells, railway trucks, surfboards, rotor blades for wind power plants or superstructures of commercial vehicles or caravans, without sandwich structures the most important applications of composites would be inconceivable. A sandwich structure is a type of lightweight construction, in which the components consist of force absorbing covering layers that are kept at a distance by a relatively soft, normally light, core material.

The sandwich structure is a production process for semi-finished goods, in which several layers with diverse characteristics are embedded in a material. Almost always, this involves the use of diverse composites, since despite being of a low weight these components are very rigid. They are computed according to the linear sandwich theory. The core material preferably consists of paper honeycombs, foam materials or balsa wood. It transmits arising shear loads and supports the covering layers. The thermally insulating and acoustic insulating properties of the very light core materials are also frequently utilized.

Optiplan GmbH from Oelsnitz is one of the leading manufacturers of glass fibre reinforced plastics as panels and reels under the Polydet brand. Apart from the main application as high-grade wall coverings on vehicle superstuctures, GRP products are also used in the technical, industrial and construction sectors. The company will present its latest products at the Composites Europe trade fair, which takes place in Stuttgart from 27 to 29 October 2009.

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Modern architecture looks to composites

September 21st, 2009 | By Angela in Architecture, Construction Industry, Exhibitors, Innovation | 2 Comments »

The 3D-Core consisting of three-dimensional deformable foam core materials, provide interesting application perspectives (Photo: Mühlmeier).Pipes, sills, boards, blocks, formwork, mats, cladding, stands, foundations, tanks, housing, containers, doors, coatings, shafts, adhesives, covers, benches, stones, boxes, walls, basins, frames, steps, drains, etc., the possibilities for the use of composites in the construction industry are virtually unlimited. Not for nothing has the industry been one of the consumers of composite fibre materials, more especially of GRP for over 30 years.

Virtual chemical stability, where required with a fire resistance finish, easy processing and uniformity, these are the characteristics that make composite raw materials interesting for the construction industry. Products such as glass fibre mats, fabrics and materials as well as sprayed and wound rovings with suitable resin systems are primarily employed. They are optimized for the known processing methods as well as being adapted or tailor-made for the requirements of the application.

Nevertheless, not all sectors of the construction industry already use the potential of composites for their needs. For example, modern architecture only recently discovered the possibilities for fibre reinforced plastics. One company that is involved in research in this sector is Mühlmeier GmbH & Co. KG from Bärnau. In the search for three-dimensional, deformable foam core materials, the developers of the company discovered that this task is solved perfectly by hexagonal foam cores combined with finely connecting webs. The product known as 3D-Core promises an interesting potential for designers and architects. Mühlmeier will present its latest developments in the composites sector at the COMPOSITES EUROPE trade fair, which will take place from 27 to 29 October 2009 in Stuttgart.

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The mix is the key – metering and mixing systems for composites

September 21st, 2009 | By Angela in Composite production, Exhibitors, Wind Energy Industry | 2 Comments »

When large quantities of SMP modelling pastes or epoxy pastes are used, the Nodopox 200 mixing plant is employed (Photo: Tartler).The wind energy industry is one of the most important customers for composites; at the same time the greatest challenges are made here on the load-bearing capability of the fibre reinforced plastics. Consequently, not only the right raw materials but also their specific blend is a major precondition for use in wind energy.

The industrial production of the enormous blades would be impossible to achieve without the use of technical plastics. Production of the models or the moulds for constructing the rotor shells or the rotor blades as such would be impossible. Even the adhesion of the upper and lower shell would be virtually impossible to achieve.

Two-component metering and mixing systems are required so that the right mixture of epoxy and polyurethane resins as well as modelling and adhesive pastes can be used. A reputable manufacturer of this processing technique is Tartler GmbH from Lützelbach, which will demonstrate its competencies at the COMPOSITES EUROPE trade fair, which will take place from 27 to 29 October 2009 in Stuttgart.

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The demand for carbon fibres is greater than the supply

September 14th, 2009 | By Angela in Aerospace Industry, Business, Composite production, Exhibitors, General | 1 Comment »

High impact, lightweight dolphin of CRP - at trade fairs, Sika demonstrates with this its competence where form and strength are concerned (Photo: Sika).Despite the increase in production capacities, the demand for carbon fibres continues to be far greater than the supply. This is evident from the annual market survey by the AVK – Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe e.V. The worldwide capacity in 2007 is estimated to have been 55,000 tons. The applications are multifarious and consist primarily of the sports sector, wind energy, the oil industry, the automobile and transport sector as well as civil engineering. By 2010, an annual increase in the demand for CRP is predicted to be between 14 and 16 per cent. This is due to the development of new applications over and above the previous use. Current new developments can be found, e.g. with hydrogen tanks, although the main application continues to be aviation. Experts think that even though fibre production will experience a double-digit increase as expected, there will continue to be bottlenecks at least in the medium-term. Read Full Post

Completely hard – thanks to epoxy resin

September 14th, 2009 | By Angela in Aerospace Industry, Composite production, Exhibitors, Innovation | No Comments »

Araldite EP1000AB is a new, nano-hardened epoxy adhesive paste with good mechanical properties for joining and repairing aircraft structures (Photo: Huntsman). Epoxy resins are the elixir for numerous composite applications. They consist of polymers, which together with suitable hardeners produce a duroplastic plastic of high strength and chemical stability. When epoxy resin and hardener are mixed, after a specific time, curing of the originally viscose mixture takes place. Depending on the formulation and temperature, this time span can take a few minutes or may last several hours. In some cases, the curing time may also take several months.

The Krempel-Group, from Vaihingen, offers with the BD system, prepregs that are based on modified epoxy resins with high impact resistance and excellent dynamic properties. These can be processed into high strength structural components with all standard processes. The curing range is between 85 and 140 degrees Celsius, the maximum dimensional stability under heat is 125 degrees Celsius.

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Biomaterials: from a pencil sharpener to a peg

September 7th, 2009 | By Angela in Automotive Industry, Biocomposites, Biomaterials, Business, Exhibitors, Innovation | No Comments »

The innovation prize for the young group of biomaterials will be awarded this year for the second time (Photo: Coperion). The experts of the AVK – Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe e.V. forecast an annual double-digit percentage growth rate for natural fibre reinforced plastics as well as for wood-plastic composites (WPC).  The reasons for this are the aspects of energy saving during production and the associated reduction in carbon dioxide.

The most important applications are the automobile, construction, furniture as well as industrial and consumer goods. Even so, the use of natural fibre reinforced plastics is stagnating in the automobile sector in the German market which currently accounts for 30,000 tons annually.

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COMPOSITES EUROPE: Specialist programme covering trends and innovations

September 7th, 2009 | By Angela in Aerospace Industry, Automotive Industry, COMPOSITES Forum, Exhibitors, Innovation | No Comments »

2CE_Composites_Forum_1_kleinTechnical principles, trends and innovations – in an international lecture forum, the COMPOSITES EUROPE trade fair will again present specialist lectures on current topics relevant to the industry in 2009. The COMPOSITES Forum will focus on all areas of composite applications.

Topics range from crash-safe materials in the automotive field to sandwich panels in aircraft construction, from growth potential in the construction of wind energy parks to production and machining processes for composites. The programme features a total of 26 lectures and presentations in English and German.

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