SAMPE Wrap Up And Product Showcase

Exhibitions on both sides of the Atlantic spur optimism and spotlight innovative technology.
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The 48th Annual International Symposium and Exhibition of the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) emphasized the international dimensions of the composites industry. Exemplifying the show theme, "Advancing Materials in the Global Economy — Applications, Emerging Markets and Evolving Technologies," SAMPE's Los Angeles and Taiwan chapters co-hosted this year's program, May 11-15, at the Long Beach Convention Center (Long Beach, Calif., U.S.A.).

Stand-in keynote speaker Bob Griffiths (Airbus Industrie's Jens Henrichsen had to bow out) examined the practical outworkings of the show's theme in current supplier selection for large-scale aerospace projects. As president of SAMPE Europe, Griffiths offered his observation that OEMs are, to a greater extent than ever before, looking for the best technology possible, and are finding it in a greater array of unusual global locales. (For more observations about the show and the industry's international trajectories, see Griffith's "Market Trends" column, in this issue, p. 6.)

Technical sessions make impressions

SAMPE conferred its "Outstanding Technical Paper Award" on authors representing the University of Dayton Research Institute (Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.) and 3TEX Inc. (Cary, N.C., U.S.A.), for their technical article detailing "Fabrication of 3-D Woven Preforms and Composites with Integrated Fiber Optic Sensors."

Easily the most popular of the 237 papers presented at the conference, however, was "Materials Technology for the Boeing 7E7," presented by Mark Jenks, The Boeing Co.'s director of technology integration for the aircraft giant's recently announced 7E7 program. Several hundred attendees listened to Jenks' view of the factors driving Boeing's decision to pursue a composites-intensive 250- to 275-seat commercial jetliner that is expected to lower operating costs for the airlines. (See related "News" story in this issue, p. 7.)

More than 100 attendees were on hand to hear a panel of experts discuss "Technology and Market Trends in Advanced M&P," a new feature at the Symposium this year, which resulted from SAMPE's reorganization of its Technical Committees. The session, put together by SAMPE's international senior VP Anthony Falcone and international technical director Dr. Scott Beckwith, was so well-received that the organization plans to make it a permanent feature at future conferences.

SAMPE also reports that, despite travel concerns related to the economic downturn, the SARS virus and the recent Iraq conflict, paid conference registrations were up about 9 percent over last year and the organization's educational tutorials showed a greater than 15 percent increase in attendance.

Technology review

Suppliers to advanced composites markets buoyed optimism at the SAMPE Europe/JEC Conference (April 1-3, in Paris) and at SAMPE's Long Beach event by weighing in this year with a wide array of new materials and technologies for the high-performance composites manufacturer. The HPC staff was on hand at both events to walk the aisles and take special note of a number of new developments and notable exhibits:

2Phase Technologies (Dayton, Nev., U.S.A.) demonstrated its unique reformable tooling system (RTS) for casting or fabrication of composite parts. Comprised of ceramic microspheres, plasticizers and water, the material can be molded around a model or an actual part while soft and formable. When the water is drained from the tool base, the material becomes extremely hard and dimensionally stable over a period of 1 to 2 hours. Parts up to 1,100 mm/42 inches by 1,500 mm/60 inches by 460 mm/18 inches deep can be processed at temperatures up to 177°C/350°F. The hardened tool can be maintained permanently, or changed at will to produce a different part. Select 236

A&P Technology Inc. (Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.) discussed the largest structural braid it has ever produced, as part of the NASA Advanced Inflatable Airlock program. The airlock, which can be collapsed and folded flat to make it a more manageable payload, permits astronauts to exit from orbiting craft or structures into space. Current designs are unwieldy "hard wall" metallic structures. The 2.2m/7-ft diameter, 3m/10-ft long, single-layer triaxial braid was made on an 800-carrier Megabraider braiding machine, using Vectran liquid crystal polymer fiber from Celanese Advanced Materials. The braid forms the "restraint layer" of the airlock, and was recently tested to 4 atmospheres of pressure without failing. Select 237

Composites fabricator AAR Precision Systems (Clearwater, Fla., U.S.A.) announced that the company's manufacturing unit has received AS9100:2001, Section 1 and ISO 9001:2000 certification by the accreditation firm Det Norske Veritas. AS9100 is the Aerospace Model for Quality Assurance in Design, Development, Production, Installation and Servicing, and was developed using the ISO 9001, AS9000 and EN9000-1 models. AS9000-1 addresses the manufacture of both civil and military aircraft and aerospace launch vehicles. Select 238

AB Ph. Nederman & Co. (Eskilstuna, Sweden) displayed a broad line of tools for cutting, drilling, machining, sanding and grinding of composite parts, each with vacuum extraction hoses to collect airborne dust. The company also provides extraction systems for removing VOCs during layup. All equipment can be connected to a central vacuum collection system to improve worker hygiene and maintain cleaner shop conditions. Select 239

Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG, Heanor Derbyshire, U.K. and Tulsa, Okla., U.S.A.) and Scott Bader Co. Ltd. (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, U.K.) announced its co-branded epoxy prepreg-compatible gel coat, Crystic GC260. The pre-accelerated, brush-on gel coat is fully compatible with ACG's VTM260-series epoxy prepregs and associated ZPREG formats, without the use of a tie coat. Tests have demonstrated reliable gel-coat-to-epoxy-resin bonds at cure cycle temperatures ranging from 65°C to as much as 120°C (140°F to 248°F), says the company. Select 240

Aero Consultants Ltd. AG (Nänikon, Switzerland) announced at the SAMPE Europe/JEC Conference that it has entered into an agreement with FiberCote Industries Inc. (Waterbury, Conn., U.S.A.) to be the exclusive distributor in Europe of FiberCote's line of aerospace and industrial prepregs. Included in the agreement is the portfolio of AGATE/FAA-approved prepregs for general aviation aircraft. Select 241

Airtech International Inc. (Huntington Beach, Calif., U.S.A.) announced that Saint-Gobain has appointed Airtech to sell MR-1 premium surface PTFE release films worldwide, and displayed new and inexpensive Econo Peel Plies, made of polyester or nylon, available plain, coated with release agent or with a red tracer. Select 242

Albany Engineered Composites Inc. (Rochester, N.H., U.S.A.) introduced a new carbon fiber-reinforced acrylic composite material with 45 percent fiber volume and a flexural modulus of 4.06 Msi/28 Gpa. The thermoplastic composite, which can be compression molded or thermoformed, is being used in orthopedic applications, such as custom knee braces. Select 243

Applied Composites Engineering (Indianapolis, Ind., U.S.A.) promoted its skills as an ISO 9001- and AS9100-certified advanced composites design and manufacturing firm and as an FAA-certified repair station. Capabilities include rapid prototyping, toolmaking and full production for commercial and military aviation OEMs, as well as military land systems, automotive and motor sports components, and medical equipment. Its 1,858m2/20,000 ft2 manufacturing facility houses two CNC machining systems, an autoclave and two ovens, and a fully outfitted CAD engineering department. Select 244

For aerospace and automotive surface-preparation, BBA Nonwovens (Simpsonville, S.C., U.S.A.) offers Pre-moistened "Process Control" Wipes, packaged in multi-layer, resealable bags, which minimize solvent evaporation and user VOC exposure. Everspun wipes are designed for final cleanup, when low linting and clean surfaces are critical to the next production step. VeraClean wipes are available with a wide range of solvents (acetone, naptha, isopropyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, etc.) and are made of 100 percent Rayon, with no silicones or chemical binders. They meet most aerospace specs, including ASTM 3819, BMS 15-5F and DMS 1820. The company also can pre-moisten and package wipes with customers' proprietary solvents. Select 245

AXEL Plastics Research Labs Inc. (Woodside, N.Y., U.S.A.) has added three new XTEND mold release products for RTM and closed molding applications: 19SAM is designated for application at ambient temperature, 19WAM, for application to warm molds (50°C to 80°C/120°F to 180°F) and 19HAM, for application to hot molds (82°C/180°F or above). All three are solvent-based reactive resin solutions designed to crosslink and cure on the mold surface. Suited to non-gel coat applications (especially plug or male sides of molds), they are also effective for epoxy tooling and DCPD resins. Select 246

Belotti SpA (Suisio, Italy) introduced its FLA-series CNC machining equipment. The automated systems feature a wide range of gantry-mounted machining heads with electric spindle power ranging from 0.75 kW at 60,000 rpm to 13.8 kW at 30,000 rpm. The totally enclosed systems protect technicians from dust and noise. Features include fully digital numerical control and accessories, such as product and jig supports and holding systems, vacuum tables and dust collection bins as well as a digital "feeler" system that senses the presence of a work piece and adapts the machining program to work piece size and/or position changes. Select 247

Bond-Laminates GmbH (Brilon, Germany) introduced the TEPEX x08 range of materials, featuring thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) as the matrix. The TPU formulation achieves the properties usually obtained with standard engineering plastics, where previous TPU systems have tended to be "soft," according the company. The material has very high impact resistance even at low temperatures, processes at relatively low temperatures (±230°C/446°F) and is easy to bond, paint and overmold, according to the company. The products are commercially available in colors, with glass reinforcement or carbon fiber reinforcement, for use in manufacturing sporting goods. Select 248

BH Thermal Corp. (Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.) presented its ACR-II Hot Bonder, a portable, self-contained curing system that is programmable to Celsius or Fahrenheit scales. It features a 760°C/1400°F maximum cure temperature, controllable in one or two zones, with ramp rates ranging from 1°C to 20°C/1°F to 36°F per minute. Equipped with an internal electric vacuum pump, the device accepts 10 thermocouple sensor inputs per zone, stores up to 30 cure programs and enables postcure downloading of data to a floppy disk. Also new: The BriskHeat Variable-Watt Curing Blanket, which delivers uniform heat (up to 232°C/450°F, accurate within ±5°C/9°F) across its entire surface. The blanket is conformable (to a 0.25-inch radius), moisture and oil resistant and is available with an integral vacuum seal to reduce consumables. It features a velcro-attached insulation pad that provides protection for the repair technician. Select 249

Bryte Technologies' (Morgan Hill, Calif., U.S.A.) EX-1551 Cyanate Ester 177°C/350°F cure resin system, formulated for high service temperature applications (aircraft structures and engines, ablatives, radomes, missiles), is designed to replace BMI and polyimide resin systems. Its high Tg enables perfomance at continuous temperatures ranging from 177°C to 260°C/350°F to 500°F (as high as 316°C/600°F, short term). Also new: EX-1551-1 Cyanate Ester is formulated for use in the resin transfer molding process at low temperatures, ranging from 49°C to 54°C/120°F to 130°F. Select 250

Composites Testing Laboratory (Galway, Ireland) presented a broad portfolio of static and fatigue testing capabilities for composites. The independent test lab, which is accredited to ISO 17025, has completed contracts for suppliers to Airbus and several Formula 1 racing teams. Highly specialized capabilities include ultrasonic "C" scan, microphotography, and DTMA thermal analysis. Select 251

The Sentinel G5 Autoclave Control System, from CompuDAS Controls LLC (Shelton, Wash., U.S.A.), features a Windows-based graphical user interface, a dedicated control processor with real-time OS, complete system integration (including software configured to customer requirements) and remote phone support capability called Laplink. Its standard input/output configuration includes 31 analog inputs (24-bit), 8 analog outputs (12-bit), 32 digital I/O, three counter-timers, and Ethernet RS485 and RS232. Select 252

At the CMS (Zogno, Italy) booth, the PMT-series CNC Machining Centers were in the spotlight, featuring a mobile gantry bridge structure with floor mounted guide rails, a geometry suited to machining large, difficult-to-reposition work pieces. The 5-axis system allows greater piece widths and cutter stroke lengths (built to customer specification) than table-mounted systems. Select 253

Croma (Paris, France) demonstrated its hot-wire cutting machinery, designed to produce complex-contoured and tapered asymmetrical shapes from foam core materials. Options include a user-bendable wire tool and an automatic turntable that together enable the user to produce grooved, fluted and round shapes. Select 254

Cytec Engineered Materials (Tempe, Ariz., U.S.A.) launched PRIFORM, its new resin infusion materials system for the manufacture of damage-resistant composite aircraft parts. The system was created because toughened resins used in prepreg and adhesive applications are too viscous for conventional resin infusion processes. Cytec weaves a several-micron-thick layer of toughening fibers into the PRIFORM fabric reinforcement. When processed with Cytec's low-viscosity PRIFORM 977-20 resin, the fibers dissolve into the matrix, distributing toughening characteristics throughout the part. Parts made with the material reportedly possess the same performance advantages as those made with toughened prepreg, and also offer superior flame/smoke/toxicity properties. Select 255

Degussa Röhm GmbH & Co. (Darmstadt, Germany) promoted product line extensions to its well-established Rohacell brand of polyimide foam cores. Specifically developed for resin infusion processes like RTM, Rohacell RIST (Resin Infusion STructural) has a property profile similar to the WF grade used with prepreg processes, but with smaller cell size, reducing surface resin absorption. Rohacell RIMA (Resin Infusion Manufacturing Aid) low-density/low-creep foam with even smaller cell size provides essentially zero surface resin absorption. The non-structural core is used as a mandrel for producing geometrically complex parts in RTM and other infusion processes. Select 256

Devold AMT AS (Langevåg, Norway) displayed its biaxial fabrics, available with conventional ±45° orientations or in optional orientations, with alignments on angles from 20° to 90°. Fabric construction may be carbon, glass or aramid, but various other reinforcements and hybrids can be fabricated on request. Select 257

DIAB Americas LP (Desoto, Texas, U.S.A.) announced the purchase of a 22-acre site in Red Oak, Texas for its planned new production facility, which is expected to double the company's foam production in the U.S. over the next several years. Also new: A kitting line for ProBalsa core has been installed at DIAB's plant in Laholm, Sweden. The new line features a 4-axis CNC router able to produce accurately, in a single operation, kit components that feature complex curves and multiple rebates and cutouts. Select 258

Fiber Innovations (Walpole, Mass., U.S.A.) highlighted its recent emphasis on in-house resin transfer molding (RTM), combining its expertise in braided carbon-fiber preforming with molding of finished parts. The company's expanded 2,787m2/30,000 ft2 facility houses RTM facilities capable of processing with cure ranging from room temperature to 232°C/450°F, plus complete braiding and preform stitching/assembly areas, and an environmentally controlled prepreg braiding area. Select 259

GKN Aerospace (Isle of Wight, U.K. and St. Louis, Mo., U.S.A.) promoted its capabilities in resin film infusion (RFI) and resin transfer molding (RTM). The company reportedly has brought manufacturing costs down by 30 percent, in part, by using heated molds (rather than ovens) to facilitate cure of very large RFI'd parts for the Airbus A380 (components four times the size of GKN parts produced for its predecessor, the A340). GKN also publicized its three-year investment in its RTM facilities, now among the most extensive in the world. Select 260

Henkel AG & Co. KGaA (Rocky Hill, Conn., U.S.A., and Senlis, Cedex, France) announced a new family of epoxy adhesives for European customers, based on the Dexter line, and unveiled its 4 million Euro/$4.5 million (USD) factory near Milan, Italy. Also on display: a draft version of its new JOINTCALC software (available late 2003). The program was developed through research projects aimed at developing simple calculation methods for evaluation of joint strength. It is designed to accurately predict the effective static strength of a joint by simulating the actual strains and then determining the most suitable adhesive resins to use. Use of the software is predicted to eliminate preliminary testing. The company recommends JOINTCALC for use in all epoxy adhesive bonding applications. Select 261

Humantec (Charlotte/Huntersville, N.C., U.S.A.) showed its HT MultiFunctionCutter (MFC), a modular, computer-driven cutting system available with a static cutting surface or the HT MaterialFeedSystem conveyor. The customizable cutting solution can be installed in less than 9.3m2/100 ft2 of floor space and comes in size configurations from 787 mm/31 inches by 787 mm/31 inches up to 2,743 mm/108 inches by 3,350 mm/132 inches. The conveyor system indexes for continuous cutting of complete rolls or panels, regardless of length. The MFC can be fitted with any of 25 knife profiles, five different cutting heads, and five cutting inserts, including electric and pneumatic oscillating heads and tangential blades designed specifically for patterned cutting of composites, carbon fiber fabrics and prepregs. The system achieves accuracy of ±0.02 mm/0.0008 inch repeatability, at speeds ranging from 1 to 1,000 mm/0.003 to 3.3 ft per second, according to the company. Also new: A six-roll refrigerated carousel for storage of rolled goods with out-time limitations. Select 262

The WELD-ON Structural Adhesive Series, on display at the IPS Corp. (Research Triangle Park, N.C., U.S.A.) booth, included SS600 series methacrylate adhesives. These two-component (10:1 mix ratio) products bond composites, thermoplastics and metals with minimal surface preparation and optimal cohesive strength to 98°C/180°F temperatures. Features include 12- or 40-minute open times, non-sag handling characteristics, permanent toughness and high elongation. Also on display: MP100 Metal Primer, a surface treatment that cleans, chemically converts and prepares stainless steel and aluminum surfaces for permanent bonding with any WELD-ON products. According to the company, the primer significantly improves bonds subject to humidity or corrosives, such as salt water. Select 263

J.H. vom Baur Sohn GmbH (Wuppertal, Germany) displayed a wide variety of narrow-width fabrics produced from carbon, aramid, and glass. The maximum width offered is 350 mm/14 inches. One product features unidirectional carbon woven in a tubular form with an elastic weft, permitting the user to pull the tube over mandrels with complex shapes, yet maintain a 0° fiber orientation along the entire length. The company also offers fabrics with tackifier pre-applied for preforming. Select 264

JPS Glass (Slater, S.C., U.S.A.) promoted its new-generation Astroquartz III fabrics, a low-cost alternative to the company's 9-micron fiber Astroquartz II fabrics. Based on 14-micron filament yarns, the new conformable fabrics are woven from high-tensile-strength, high-purity (99.95 percent) fused silica fiber. Two fabric styles are available, featuring many of the attributes of Astroquartz II fabrics, including low dielectrics, near-zero coefficient of thermal expansion, high-temperature performance and excellent mechanical properties in composites. Select 265

Karl Mayer Textilmaschinenfabrik GmbH (Obertshausen, Germany) unveiled its newest Malimo Multiaxial Knitting Machine, capable of producing fabrics from 80 inches to a full 130 inches in width (adjustable in 25-inch increments). Capable of fiber orientations at any angle between +45° and -45°, the system offers a unique laying system that gently and carefully handles materials, for problem-free processing of carbon fiber and glass fiber, says the company. Select 266

Lectra (Marietta, Ga., U.S.A.) focused visitor attention on its VectorComposite 2500 plotter-based composite materials cutting systems, featuring the new VectorPilotComposite driver, with unique tools adapted to cutting multiple material types, including prepreg, honeycomb and fiberglass mat/fabric. The machine is offered with a choice of two cutting window sizes: 67 inches by 69 inches and 69 inches by 140 inches. Select 267

Leybold SA (Bourg-lès-Valence, Cedex, France) displayed new SOGEVAC SV10B and SV16B air cooled, rotary vane vacuum pumps, with integrated motors and all control, operating and monitoring components mounted on the face sides of the pumps. Features include integrated exhaust filters and integrated gas ballast valve. Water cooling is available for pumps as an option. Select 268

LPT (Laser Projection Technologies, Londonderry, Conn., U.S.A.) introduced TruLASER View (TLV) advanced manufacturing software. The program reportedly interfaces seamlessly with popular CAD products (Autocad, CATIA, ProENGINEER, Unigraphics, etc.) and outputs files to all LPT laser projection tools. TLV 2-D, provides quick, easy two-dimensional laser projection data by converting 2-D models and CAD designs for projection onto work areas in assembly, nesting, kitting, hand trimming and cutting applications. TLV 3-D is designed to do the same in three-dimensional applications and also interfaces with CAD models. Select 269

MATERIAL SA (Brussels, Belgium) took reservations for copies of its new Composite Star database and design software. The package calculates ply and laminate properties, laminate load response and failure (with new failure criteria and progressive failure models) and also calculates the properties, load responses and failure of laminate beams, tubes and plates. The software interfaces with popular FEA programs, with simple mouse-click imports and exports. Select 270

MIKROSAM (Prilep, Macedonia) highlighted its Multi Axis Filament Winding Machine for cylindrical shapes with irregular cross-sections. The computer numerical controlled system has a maximum mandrel diameter of 1,000 mm/39.37 inches and maximum mandrel weight capacity of 1,000 kg/2,205 lb. The machine's horizontal carriage stroke is a maximum 4,000 mm/157.5 inches, with a spindle speed variable between 0 and 100 rpm. Auxiliary equipment includes impregnation baths, spool creels, tensioning systems, curing ovens and mandrel extractors. Select 271

Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) offered DIALEAD high-performance, coal tar pitch-based carbon fiber, in 2K, 10K, 12K and chopped and milled formats. New DIALEAD carbon fiber paper, priced at 4 Euro/lb ($4.50/lb) and available in 1m/39-inch widths, offers tensile strength of 2,550 Mpa/370 ksi and tensile modulus of 215 Gpa, in 30 g/m2 weight. Select 272

MGI (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) displayed its line of core materials based on closed-cell polyurethane foam technology. Attracting considerable interest was the company's foam-filled aluminum honeycomb product, providing shear and compressive properties several times that of either foam or honeycomb alone. The product is targeted at marine, transportation and aerospace sandwich structures. Select 273

RST-5 (Resin Separation Technology), from Mulder Hardenberg (Hofheim, Germany) is a cleaning solvent replacement product, featuring a patented, non-flammable, water-based cleaning agent developed for removing resins form rollers, brushes and other tool surfaces. Resin waste remains separate from the cleaning solution and settles, allowing simple extraction for disposal. The cleaning solution may then be reused. Select 274

NuSil Technology (Carpinteria, Calif., U.S.A.) offered its Engineering Materials Selection Guide, which outlines its entire line of silicone products, including one- and two-part adhesives and sealants, designed for use in aerospace applications. Each lot of adhesive and sealant is tested to ASTM-E595 outgassing requirements. Select 275

Permabond (Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K.) introduced a patented, two-part epoxy adhesive for composite and aluminum substrates. E3334 has very high peel strength — 200 N/25 mm — compared with 50 N/25 mm for traditional epoxies. The product may be cured at room temperature or accelerated with heating. The high peel strength allows laminates to be pressed and formed after bonding without degradation of the bond. Target applications include interiors for truck, bus, marine and commercial aircraft. Select 276

Plascore Inc. (Zeeland, Mich., U.S.A.) announced that its PP-series polypropylene honeycomb core can be formed using conventional thermoforming and compression molding techniques. The company recommends using core thicknesses 10 to 20 percent thicker than the expected final consolidated part thickness. Materials are preheated quickly to between 149°C and 166°C/300°F and 330°F and then transferred to a mold at a temperature between 38°C and 49°C/100°F and 120°F. The mold is closed and the core material is allowed to cool. Cover stock can be pre-arranged in the mold for lamination to the heated core. Plascore can provide pre-consolidated panels with various facing materials. Select 277

Radius Engineering Inc. (Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.) took top honors at the SAMPE Europe/JEC Composites Show in the JEC Award program's "Air Transport" category with a carbon fiber braid-reinforced aircraft wing tip designed to replace an aluminum version. Radius and partners A&P Technology, Hexcel Composites, and Bombardier Aerospace resin transfer molded a 3.6m/11.8-ft long by 0.70m/2.3-ft wide demonstrator part. Use of the braid decreased required part wall thickness. The RTM technique enabled significant part consolidation and produced a paintable part surface, directly from the mold. Select 278.

Roctool SA (Le Bourget du Lac, Cedex, France) demonstrated its techniques for speeding the processing of composite components (up to 1.5m/4.9 ft in the largest dimension) by heating only the part instead of the mold. For conductive (e.g. carbon fiber-reinforced) materials, the company uses resistive heating — electrical terminals are integrated into opposite ends of the mold and are used to pass an electric current throughout the prepreg. This method rapidly heats and cures the part without loss of time typically required to preheat the mold. For nonconductive materials (e.g., glass-reinforced), inductive heating methods are used. The mold is made with conductive material, which is then subjected to a magnetic field. The mold heats in seconds (no prolonged preheating stage) and quickly transmits heat to the part. Both methods reduce energy consumption and shorten the elapsed time required for part processing, says the company. Select 279

Samtech Group (Liege, Belgium) promoted its new SAMCEF Field 3.2 for Composites software, which enables users to perform advanced linear and non-linear composite analysis by adding composites-specific features to existing SAMCEF Field CAD modeling software. It includes a complete library of multi-layered elements dedicated to the modeling of laminates and sandwich structures. Select 280

Silicone Solutions (Twinsburg, Ohio, U.S.A.) showcased its SS-67B, a fast-curing, high-strength, low-odor acetoxy silicone RTV adhesive rubber. The one-part system enables handling of part assemblies minutes after bonding. The material exhibits excellent unprimed adhesion to silicone rubber parts, and its cure cycle can be accelerated by application of hot air, says the company. Select 281

SIMEX Technologies (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) showcased its new vinyl ester prepreg products. Though prepregs made with vinyl ester historically have had problems with B-stage stability, SIMEX has patented a proprietary method to create prepregs that reportedly require no refrigeration, have a one-year out time, possess superior chemical resistance and process in minutes as compared to longer-cure epoxies. The prepregs are available in a range of styles for a wide variety of applications. Select 282

Vantico (Duxford, Cambridge, U.K. and East Lansing, Mich., U.S.A.) put the spotlight on improved Araldyte primerless, room-temperature-cure polyurethane and epoxy adhesives, featuring long open time and high gap-filling capability in SMC bonding applications. Also new: RenInfusion 8615 epoxy resin, a 204°C/400°F formulation with extended gel time of 20 hours. Its 550 cps viscosity enables resin infusion. After cure, the material exhibits Shore D hardness of 78, flexural strength of 10,000 psi and flexural modulus of 430,000 psi. Select 283

VISTAGY Inc. (Waltham, Mass., U.S.A.) announced the availability this summer of version 4.1 of its FiberSIM software, which offers CAD-integrated tools that automate composite design and analysis and generate manufacturing information, including documentation and flat patterns. The software also outputs data to drive laser projectors, automated cutters and fiber placement machines. Version 4.0, which adds support for the CATIA V5 CAD system (with continued support of Unigraphics and Pro/ENGINEER), was on display, with new architecture that streamlines product development cycles. Select 284

VyaTek Sports Inc. (Scottsdale, Ariz., U.S.A.) announced a worldwide, exclusive licensing agreement with Wilson Racquet Sports, which will allow the latter to use VyaTek's IsoGrid technology and brand name in its forthcoming Series H tennis racquets. Select 285

WebCore Technologies (Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.) displayed its Tycor family of fiber-reinforced foam (FRF) core products, designed for use in the fabrication of lightweight but exceedingly damage-tolerant composite structures in aerospace/defense, marine, transportation, industrial and infrastructure applications. The products feature fiber reinforcements interlaced in a three-dimensional architecture throughout a foam core material. During resin infusion, the reinforcements "wick" the resin through the core thickness, forming a patterned z-directional reinforcement structure within the finished composite component. Tycor reportedly performs well in low-pressure resin transfer molding, vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding, vacuum-bagged open molding and pultrusion. Select 286

Zeon Chemicals L.P. (Louisville, Ky., U.S.A.) showed its new DuoMod ZT-2 toughened tackifier. Traditional resin toughening additives, such as elastomers or thermoplastics, tend to increase resin viscosity, making processes like resin transfer molding (RTM) or vacuum-assisted RTM difficult, because the resin can't flow through the preform. The DuoMod product, a pre-reacted combination of proprietary cross-linked particles and an epoxy-compatible tackifier resin, is carried in acetone and will bond to epoxy matrix resins. The tackifier can be sprayed onto the reinforcing preform layers at a loading of about 4 percent (by weight), and the part may be processed normally with any infusion-friendly, low-viscosity epoxy. The tackifier cures at ambient temperature up to 121°C/250°F, and can improve interlaminar fracture toughness by as much as 147 percent, without any detrimental effect on the part's flexural strength or thermal properties. Select 287

Zoltek Corporation (St. Louis, Mo., U.S.A.) unveiled lightweight, high-performance, unidirectional stitch-bonded fabrics made from commercial (large-tow) PANEX 35 carbon fibers. The new fabric line is suitable for standard fabrication technologies and processes, including resin transfer molding, infusion molding, hand lay-up and prepreg production, offering the advantage of easier wet-out and greater finished part stiffness compared with aerospace-grade (small-tow) fibers, says the company. Now available in up to 3m/10-ft widths, the fabrics are made with a special binder that provides for improved fabric cutting, drape, and preforming. Select 288

Zyvax Inc. (East Ellijay, Ga., U.S.A.) presented new AeroShield, a "wipe-and-go" release coating, with increased tack for dry laminates and hard-to-place prepregs. The coating can be used for long production runs without build-up on tooling, and is designed for use in place of the company's CompositeShield release coating, in those applications. Select 289