CW Blog

Wet-spinning carbon fiber precursor begins in Australia

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), an Australian research and development center, reports that it, in collaboration with Deakin University (Waurn Ponds, Australia), has begun lab-scale manufacure of carbon fiber using a wet-spinning process.

Director of CSIRO Future Industries, Dr. Anita Hill, says, “This facility means Australia can carry out research across the whole carbon fiber value chain: from molecules, to polymers, to fiber, to finished composite parts,” Dr Hill said. “Together with Deakin, we’ve created something that could disrupt the entire carbon bre manufacturing industry.”

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Resin prices on the rise

Since the start of 2017, I have received 21 press releases from a variety of suppliers announcing price increases for resins sold into the Unites States, Europe and the Middle East. By comparison, from July 2016 to the end of the year, I received six such press releases. 

You can find here a full list of all composite resin price increases, dating back to 2011.

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NASA carbon fiber glider to gather weather data during flight

NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center staff and students are working on a carbon fiber glider that could deliver more accurate, immediate and economical information on severe weather like hurricanes. Called the Weather Hazard Alert and Awareness Technology Radiation Radiosonde (WHAATRR) Glider, the vehicle could potentially save the National Weather Service up to $15 million a year compared to current methods and with faster and more reliable data, says project manager Scott Wiley.

In addition to NASA and the National Weather Service, the WHAATRR Glider could benefit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and potentially serve as an airborne sciences platform, Wiley says. The data obtained from such gliders could reduce costs incurred from unnecessary airline delays and potentially save aircraft and lives, he added.

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A tsunami of growth: An inside look at the CSP/Teijin merger

I had the opportunity to meet and interview the top executives of Continental Structural Plastics (CSP, Auburn Hills, MI, US) and Teijin Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) last week. The occasion was an open house and celebration of the acquisition of CSP by Teijin, which CW has reported on (here’s a link to the latest news story:; earlier stories are also available). Before the festivities got underway, the leaders of both companies answered my questions about what the merger means for the future.

I first sat with Dr. Jun Suzuki, president and CEO of Teijn Ltd., as well as Akio Nakaishi, who is general manager of the carbon fibers and composites business unit of Teijin, as well as president of Toho Tenax Co. Ltd. When I asked why CSP was their acquisition target, Suzuki explained that several reasons drove the choice: “The first is that CSP is the largest such company in North America. Another reason is that they have many automotive customers, including the US Big Three, Toyota North America, and Honda North America, for example. And, the company is growing. CSP’s Class A automotive outer panels technology is currently the best, even before they introduced their new TCA Ultra Lite product. Their customers have accepted the SMC body panels, and trust CSP’s reliability, in volume.”

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Compression molding: New materials and markets

This Hybrid SMC A350 door frame lining (TRL 6) reduces part cost and manufacturing lead time by more than 50% vs.  previous honeycomb/glass-phenolic prepreg sandwich. Source: CTC Stade.

Hybrid SMC
As highlighted in this month’s feature: “CW Plant Tour: Composites Technology Center”, SMC is being reinvented by Airbus and the Composites Technology Center (CTC) in Stade, Germany. Current composite aircraft interior components often use glass fiber/phenolic sandwich construction, characterized by low buy-to-fly material usage, high cycle times and extensive rework/finishing. CTC wanted to address these issues, but also to enable more complexity and function, for example, integration of wire clips, attachment interfaces, circuitry, fasteners, coloring and different surfaces. Thus, CTC has combined thermoset, short-fiber SMC with preimpregnated, tailored continuous fiber reinforcements in a single-stage compression molding process. This is very similar to a process  demonstrated with thermoplastic materials in the CAMISMA project.

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