In January, Advaero Technologies Inc. (Greensboro, N.C.) reported that it had successfully completed initial trials of a new carbon composite part made from a unique fabric technology that was processed with Advaero’s new (pat. pend.) heated vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (HVARTM) process. The company is a member of a global consortium, led by Dr. Stephen Tsai, professor research emeritus at Stanford University, that includes Stanford’s Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Chomarat Textile Industries (Le Cheylard, France). The company is a commercial spinoff from North Carolina A&T State University’s College of Engineering. Advaero is focused on advanced composite structures that feature thin-ply, bi-angle, noncrimp fiber technology, as reported previously in High-Performance Composites (see HPC July 2011, p. 9, or see link at right).
Advaero’s HVARTM process was found to be effective in tests when coupled with Chomarat’s newly developed 150-g/m2 bi-angle, noncrimp carbon fiber fabric, resulting in a composite structure with tensile strength that is three times greater than composites made by conventional methods with standard carbon fiber fabrics. Moreover, the process does so without an autoclave cure. The resulting composite’s strength-to-weight and projected lower processing costs could make it attractive to manufacturers of commercial aircraft components.
In the Jan. 12 announcement, Advaero CEO Greg Bowers contended that “Advaero’s HVARTM infusion process, combined with Chomarat’s new carbon fiber fabric, creates a technology platform that could launch stronger, lighter components and structures at competitive prices.”
“We are excited and pleased to see the Advaero-infused composite product yielding such impressive physical results,” added HVARTM co-inventor and scientific advisor to Advaero, Dr. Ajit Kelkar.