Carbon fiber markets and goComp.biz iPod winner

As I write this, I'm preparing for a 4th of July family reunion celebration at my house. If that isn't scary enough, contractors are still putting the finishing touches on a two-year-long remodeling project, during which I've been camping out in my basement! It's been touch and go in more ways than one - the finish

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As I write this, I'm preparing for a 4th of July family reunion celebration at my house. If that isn't scary enough, contractors are still putting the finishing touches on a two-year-long remodeling project, during which I've been camping out in my basement! It's been touch and go in more ways than one - the finish on the hardwood floors got dry enough to walk on only hours before I had to move my furniture back in!

Suppose the floor crew had called and said the paint supplier had back-ordered my polyurethane and the floor finish had to wait until July 6th? Just the thought of such a party-stopper put me in mind of this issue's "Speaking Out" column, in which Linn Matthews discusses the longstanding difficulty of coordinating supply and demand in the carbon fiber industry. In our March "Market Trends," D.J.DeLong, Matthews' coworker when both worked for Amoco, suggested long-term contracts to lock in carbon-fiber supply during shortages and smooth out pricing ups and downs. Since then, Zoltek Europe's Tim McCarthy has weighed in with an opinion as well in the May "Speaking Out." Now that the carbon-fiber "party" is heating up again, with projections of 7 to 8 percent growth, what are your ideas about how best to keep it going? E-mail judy@compositesworld.com.

Speaking of parties, things were pretty lively at this year's SAMPE Europe Conference in Paris and SAMPE's Symposium in Long Beach, as the Society celebrated its 60th anniversary here in the U.S. and its 25th year of activity across the Atlantic. If you weren't there, see our show wrap ups, beginning p. 20.

In "Focus on Design," this issue, HPC looks at the SparrowHawk, an all-carbon composite sailplane that weighs in at only 70kg/155 lb (see p. 44). Its low weight earned it a place in the U.S. Federal Aviation Admin.'s (FAA) Ultralight category along with other unpowered craft, such as hang gliders and hot-air balloons. Unlike typical sailplanes, of heavier glass/epoxy construction, Ultralights require no costly FAA certification -- a large factor in the SparrowHawk's notably low price.

Our "Inside Manufacturing" feature (p. 38) takes a look at a resin transfer molding process that speeds production of stator vanes, the stationary blades mounted behind the revolving turbofans in jet engines. You also will get a preview of a unique 3-D preforming process expected to make vane production even more efficient on a new engine design.

"Inside Engineering," (p. 32) features GENOA, a modeling tool that takes into account a composite part's as-built flaws and simulates the failure process under real-world conditions, providing a "virtual testing" environment that allows engineers to predict actual composite behavior with great accuracy.

And on p. 7, the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Dr. H. Felix Wu predicts that advanced materials and "smart" sensing technology will be key components in this country's disaster-avoidance plan for its national infrastructure.

And the winner is ....

Richard Cole from Bristol Aerospace Ltd. (Winnepeg, Canada) was the winner of the goComp.biz Apple iPod sweepstakes. Hundreds of you registered to enter the sweepstakes -- thanks! We plan to sponsor another sweepstakes soon, so "stay tuned" for the announcement ... and watch out for those fireworks.

Editor Pick

Teton Composites wins National Science Foundation grant

The $224,000 grant will be used to conduct research and development work on software for structural modeling of chopped-fiber-reinforced composites for the design engineer.