Natural fiber composites: Market share, one part at a time
New suppliers and adventurous composites fabricators put the “feel good” aspect in the rearview mirror, winning customers by competing on price and performance.


Energy market volatility creates winners and losers
CompositesWorld's editor-in-chief Jeff Sloan examines the effects, both negative and positive, of the currently volatile and dynamic energy market on the composites industry.

By the Numbers

Gardner Business Index at 50.0 in March
New orders and production are up. Capital spending plans foreshadow equipment investments.

Composites: Perspectives and Provocations

In defense of glass fiber
Given the hype around carbon fiber, CW columnist Dale Brosius says it's easy to overlook the importance and future of glass fiber.

Composites: Past, Present and Future

The Flexible Flyer: How composites made velomobile history
Separating frame and spring functions makes them easier to design but then those separate parts are heavier. Columnist Bob Stuart's updated velomobile suspension illustrates a way to combine those functions in a lighter, more responsive construction.

Composites: Trends

A&P, TenCate test database compares slit-braid and woven fabric
A&P Technology Inc. (Cincinnati, OH, US) introduced at JEC World 2016 a new database of test data, developed with TenCate Advanced Composites (Morgan Hill, CA, US) to compare laminates composed of its trademarked QISO quasi-isotropic (0°, ±60°) fabric, a slit braid material, with laminates composed of conventional woven fabric, both prepregged with TenCate’s highly toughened TC275-1 epoxy resin.

Acell premiers Smart Panel fire-supression system
Acell Industries Ltd. (Dublin, Ireland), developer of a cost-effective architectural panel technology covered previously in CW has announced Smart Panel, an innovative building fire-suppression system.

BMW cars again a composites showcase at JEC World 2016
BMW AG (Wolfsburg, Germany), already notable for its progressive use of composite materials in its i3 and i8 automobiles, provided the Parisian canvas for a palate of composites innovations.

Business briefs: May 2016
ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd. and recycled carbon fiber.

Embraer forecasts 20-year Latin American aircraft demand
Embraer Commercial Aviation (Santiago, Chile) released in April its market outlook for Latin America, which forecasts that the region will take delivery of 720 new jets in the 70- to 130-seat segment over 20 years (11% of the segment’s worldwide demand).

EPTA’s World Pultrusion Conference spotlights innovation
The European Pultrusion Technology Assn. (EPTA) held its bi-annual World Pultrusion Conference, March 3-4, in Prague, Czech Republic.

JEC World 2016: Automotive highlights
On the automotive side, Henkel (Düsseldorf, Germany) emphasized on its JEC stand a glass fiber-reinforced composite leaf spring, based on Henkel’s polyurethane matrix resin Loctite MAX 2, used in the chassis of the new Volvo (Gothenberg, Sweden) XC90, a premium crossover SUV; the platform of this vehicle is expected to be applied to other Volvo cars in the coming years.

JEC World: Aerospace highlights
Fokker Aerostructures BV (Hoogeveen, The Netherlands), a GKN Aerospace company, demonstrated at its stand a thermoplastic composite aircraft demonstrator spoiler, fully functional and consisting of only three parts: top skin, bottom skin and a single spar.

RocTool demos “startup” molding systems at JEC Paris
Calling it “ideal” for startup composites molders who don’t want to invest in ovens, autoclaves or time- consuming heated-tooling options, RocTool Inc. (Le Bourget du Lac, France) demonstrated its trademarked LIT out-of-autoclave/out-of-press process at JEC.

SAMPE Europe Summit 2016
SAMPE Europe held its one-day Summit Paris 2016 event at the Hotel Pullman Paris Eiffel Tower on March 7. CW’s technical editor Sara Black was in attendance and noted the following standout presentations.

Teijin goes public with long-awaited Sereebo molding process
Teijin (Tokyo, Japan) revealed in Paris for the first time many details about its Sereebo high-volume composites manufacturing process.

TeXtreme spotlights composite protective headgear
At JEC World 2016, spread-tow reinforcements specialist Oxeon AB (Borås, Sweden) had on hand the recently announced Avance MIPS, an innovative ski racing helmet made by protective headwear manufacturer Giro Sport Design (Santa Cruz, CA, US).

Composites: Design & Testing

Testing is inefficient: Material simulation’s advantage over the status quo
Although simulation cannot replace validation and certification testing, it can offer a path to greater testing efficiency.


Full steam ahead for composite ship doors and hatches
VABO Composites (Emmeloord, The Netherlands) has added to its wide range of composite products these ship doors and hatches that offer a 50% weight reduction vs. conventional steel doors.

Focus on Design

Form + function = Classy chassis
Sandwich-composite chassis components double as structural and styling elements, reducing cost of ownership.

Plant Tour

GE Aviation, Batesville, MS, US
With a supply chain busy making commercial jet engines like the GE90, GEnx, LEAP and GE9X, GE Aviation has invested heavily in its composites capabilities in Batesville.

Products and Literature

· Aircraft interiors skin-damping materials

· High-definition part surface quality on injection molded parts

· High-temperature, silicone-free adhesive tapes

· Lab scale testing system

· Sprayable adhesive system

· Water-based primer


Sizing up natural fibers
Bio-fibers are hydrophilic and tend to bond poorly with polymers. Sundstrand's (Louisville, KY, US) tells CW what's done to improve bio-fiber/polymer adhesion.

Work in Progress

Lower cost, less waste: Inline prepreg production
New technologies move direct (fabricator-based) prepregging closer to reality.

Solar Impulse 2: Pulse on the future
Not yet through their ‘round the world flight, this superlight solar plane’s airframe-proven materials are already destined for higher callings.

Thermoplastic honeycomb cores: Tough insulated sandwiches
Foam-filled nylon/polyester fabric yields sandwich panel cores with excellent mechanicals, durability, thermal insulation.

Ushering in a new era for windows … and more
Superlative stiffness and thermal efficiency could make this highly glass-filled pultruded polyurethane insert a construction industry go-to material of choice.