The Composite and Polymer Engineering Laboratory (CAPE), based at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SD Mines, Rapid City, South Dakota), is emphasizing its services as a multidisciplinary contract research and education center, specializing in polymers and polymer matrix composites. CAPE works with industrial, government and academic partners to explore and develop the next innovations in polymers and polymer composites. CAPE possesses a range of advanced equipment — from bench to industrial scale — providing unusual capability to take materials science or engineering concepts through to prototyping, pilot production and field testing. Affiliated with CAPE is the Composite and Nanocomposite Advanced Manufacturing Center (CNAM Center), which involves three universities and several corporations that are collaborating to meet the urgent commercial need for strong, lightweight, multifunctional composites and nanocomposites at high volume and low cost. CNAM has developed advanced processes for manufacturing thermoplastic composites incorporating discontinuous (recycled/reclaimed/pristine) fibers (DiFTS process) and continuous fibers (CoFTS process). The sheets produced from these processes can be laminated and molded (via thermoforming, pressure forming or compression molding) in to structural and semi-structural parts and components with a range of engineered properties for diverse markets.
Conference presentations being offered include a report of work performed under CAPE contracts with NASA and the US Department of Defense Army Research Laboratory, and an aspect of work recently undertaken by the CNAM Center on behalf of its corporate clients:
- “Production and characterization of epoxy syntactic foams highly loaded with thermoplastic and glass microballoons” (K. Dando, and D.R. Salem)
- “Mechanical and thermal properties of hollow channeled polymer nanocomposite foams” (E. D. Schmid, W. M. Cross, M. Robinson, D. R. Salem
- “Fabrication and evaluation of multiscale thermoplastic composites based on in-situ polymerization of cyclic butylene terephthalate” (Y. Zhao, X. Ma, T. Xu, D. R. Salem, H. Fong)
Editor PickComposites in the Martian suit
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.