SAMPE Tech conference a forum for in-demand topics

SAMPE’s (Covina, Calif.) Fall Technical Conference attracted 800 attendees to its conference program and exhibits at the historic Netherland Hilton in Cincinnati, Ohio, which opened in 1931. The conference, held Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 2007, featured topical tracks in which tutorials, papers and panel discussions focused on

SAMPE’s (Covina, Calif.) Fall Technical Conference attracted 800 attendees to its conference program and exhibits at the historic Netherland Hilton in Cincinnati, Ohio, which opened in 1931. The conference, held Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 2007, featured topical tracks in which tutorials, papers and panel discussions focused on fields that SAMPE judged to be experiencing the most growth and highest demand for advanced education: nanomaterials, propulsion, computational materials science, and morphing. “The response to this conference has been outstanding. The draw of the four special tracks has demonstrated the need this industry has for technology advancement in these fields,” said SAMPE general cochair Michael McCabe, of the University of Dayton Research Institute.

The conference luncheon, in the hotel’s Hall of Mirrors, featured Stephen Bonadies, chief conservator at the Cincinnati Art Museum, who spoke about the science of art conservation. Bonadies expressed the challenges facing art conservators and the art they work to preserve. The talk complimented the conference theme “From Art to Science: Advancing Materials & Process Engineering.” This theme was carried on throughout the conference, with an art contest sponsored by the SAMPE Midwest Chapter and a panel discussion entitled, “Design as a Fundamental Process for Transdisciplinary ‘Art to Science’: Educating Engineers.” Led by James Seferis, this panel discussion explored innovations in design and art in multiple disciplines that are crucial to the success of engineers. For example, Seferis described how the Boeing Business Jet design program, in which artists and engineers working together, led to the development of the blended winglet — an artistic, attractive design element and aeronautical improvement that has been adopted by many airlines for better fuel economy.

The Propulsion panel discussion featured key decision makers from Pratt & Whitney (East Hartford, Conn.), GE (Cincinnati, Ohio), Goodrich (Charlotte, N.C.) and Spirit AeroSystems (Wichita, Kan.), who spoke about the challenges of producing more efficient, quieter jet engines that incorporate composites. The consensus of the panel was that resins and reinforcements must be more multifunctional and, therefore, more cost-effective — for example, a tougher resin that also has excellent fire resistance. Panelists also noted the need for further design analysis, repair and standardization efforts in these demanding high-temperature applications.

A host of other interesting papers on a wide range of topics also were on offer. “The conference attendees’ exposure to leading-edge technology presentations was what made this well-organized technical conference a success,” said SAMPE president Bob Griffiths. In addition to the conference papers, supplier exhibits spread over three exhibit halls provided attendees the opportunity to meet with exhibitors who represented all facets of the industry.

The next SAMPE Fall Technical Conference will take place Sept. 8-11, 2008, at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tenn. It will be sponsored by SAMPE’s Michigan Chapter. Joining SAMPE will be the American Society for Composites (Dayton, Ohio) and ASTM International’s (W. Conshohocken, Pa.) D-30 Committee on Composites.