CW Blog

Composite in Netherlands tunnel firewater system

The A2 motorway is the most important North-South road connection in the Netherlands, carrying a very heavy traffic load. In Maastricht, the A2 motorway originally passed the town above ground, cutting the city in half. Because of the limited space available and the need to have local traffic cross the motorway, speed limits were only 50 kph, causing major traffic delays in rush hours. Consequently, noise and exhaust gases were of great annoyance to the residents living nearby, and were having a negative effect on the environment.

In 2008, the Dutch government decided to construct a completely new tunnel (King Willem- Alexander Tunnel) at the location of the existing motorway. This is the first two-layer tunnel in the Netherlands with the top level designated for local traffic, and the lower level used for transit traffic.

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Yes, you clean tooling board with dry ice

Dry ice blasting is often used to clean metallic molds in composites fabrication operations, and it can do so without damaging the mold itself. Coastal Enterprises Co., however, wondered if dry ice blasting could be used to clean its Precision Board high-density urethane (HDU) tooling board material. Coastal worked with dry ice equipment supplier Cold Jet LLC to clean a PBLT­70 tool coated with FSC­88 WB Primer.

The results? Dry ice cleaning removed the primer and left the Precision Board HDU surface smooth and with no visible surface deterioration.

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The promise of automated manufacturing for composite parts in the aircraft industry has not yet been fully realized. Though the safety-driven standards for high-quality structures are understandable, they are currently being met via manual visual inspection — i.e., an inspector must stop the machine and visually inspect the layup before proceeding.

ZAero is a European Commission (EC) funded project within the Horizon 2020 research framework which aims to increase composite parts production efficiency by 30-50% via an inline, automated inspection system. But its goes even further, encompassing part simulation and decision support tools for process chain operators.

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CAMX 2017 turned out to be a great success, despite having been cancelled due to Hurricane Irma in September. The rescheduled event still attracted the vast majority of the original exhibitors, and more than 6500 visitors (see our News item that wraps up the 2017 edition of the show, here: — Following the show, I received a link to an interesting technical paper presented at CAMX by AGY Holding Corp. (Aiken, SC, US), authored by Craig Homrighausen, Scott Damron and Mike Palmer, entitled “Hybrid composites based on discontinuous S-2 Glass and carbon fiber reinforced nylon” (here’s the link to the technical paper in full: It got me thinking about hybrid composites.

If two materials (resin and fiber) can be combined to form a new material that’s better than either of the starting materials — the definition of a composite — then hybrid composites go one step further, whereby the composite is optimized for specific, and better, properties (and often better economics) by combining three or more materials. This concept is not new, but research and development is growing and use of hybrids is expanding, particularly into cost-sensitive automotive applications. By judiciously combining glass fiber with carbon, for example, one can achieve satisfactory mechanicals at a better price point.

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CW's top 10 digital content of 2017

Happy 2018, CompositesWorlders!

It’s early January, the holidays are behind us, and it’s time to generate some lists. And CW’s first list of 2018 is a simple one: The top 10 most viewed articles on the CompositesWorld website in 2017. I am sure the suspense is more than you can tolerate, so let’s get right to it. Happy reading.

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