Technical Fibre Products (TFP, Schenectady, N.Y.) will exhibit its Optiveil, Optimat and Tecnofire nonwoven ranges at the show. These are designed for the surface engineering of composites and TFP now offers the capability to increase the functionality of these materials through the bonding of multi-layer structures, powder addition and substrate compression. With Optiveil and Optimat, fiber type can be selected to impart additional functionality such as conductivity, EMI shielding and corrosion and abrasion resistance. Optiveil also includes an extended range of lightweight thermoplastic veils including PEEK, nylon, polyester, PEI and PPS. These thermoplastic veils can be incorporated into a composite as interlaminar layers between reinforcement fabrics, potentially offering improvements to the composite’s fracture toughness by reducing microcrack propagation. The Tecnofire range also provides surface functionality, delivering highly effective passive fire protection for composites without compromising the integrity of the structure.
TFP will also showcase a range of recent developments, including what is said to be the world's lightest nonwoven carbon veil at 2 g/m2 and a range of recycled carbon nonwovens. The 2-g/m2 material, along with TFP’s other ultra lightweight veils, is suitable for use as a carrier or support for fragile materials or adhesive films, while the recycled range demonstrates comparable properties to TFP’s virgin carbon fiber veils, with the added benefit of environmental sustainability.
The company also will discuss TFP’s joint innovation with AGC AeroComposites. This comprises electrostatic and lightning-compatible composite pipes suitable for use in aircraft fuel systems. The shared technology enables the surface resistivity of the glass-based composite pipe to be precisely controlled, therefore the structure is electrically isolating to resist lightning strike propagation, but sufficiently conductive to dissipate the static electricity resulting from fluid movement. The development is the first of its kind and presents the opportunity to save weight in aircraft fuel systems by replacing heavier metallic equivalents, resulting in an estimated weight saving of up to 200 kg/441 lb per aircraft, potentially equalling an estimated fuel saving of up to 26,000 kg/57,320 lb per aircraft per annum. These pipes can also be seen in the Awards Pavilion on the CAMX show floor.
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When humans do finally travel to Mars, they will have to be well protected from a less-than-hospitable environment. The suit designed to do the job is already in development at NASA, and it relies heavily on composites.