CW Blog

The European network for lightweight applications at sea (E-LASS) was established in 2013 and has more than 300 members from 25 nations, including 26 materials companies. Its aim is to advance lightweight design for the maritime industry and make the exchange of information and technology easy and natural.

Its projects have developed composites for ferries, offshore platforms, offshore wind turbine service vessels, tankers and more. And it eagerly publicizes and incorporates other groups including:

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I’ve blogged about Covestro’s Maezio Continuous Fiber-Reinforced Thermoplastic (CFRTP) materials and their application in Haier’s high-end, Casarte air conditioners. Maezio is now being used in the shank of limited-edition running shoes for the Chinese sportswear brand Bmai.

“Covestro has had a global headquarters in Shanghai since 2011,” says David Hartmann, Covestro senior VP growth ventures who resides in Shanghai. “After the global recession, we realized that China was the largest single market for our products, and as such, it would not be possible to develop our business here while maintaining a headquarters only in Europe.” Thus, he explains, Covestro has its well-established bases in Germany and the US, but the center of gravity for Maezio thermoplastic composites is very strongly in Asia.

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Every day I scan about headlines and my anxiety about environmental concerns starts ramping up. And then I get to work and dive into researching news for CW and start to feel a little better.

There are a lot of companies out there doing good things with renewable, sustainable materials. One such company is Stora Enso (Helsinki, Finland), who earlier this year launched a wood-based biocomposite called DuraSense. 

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As we look to the future of automotive, cars continue to evolve toward electric technology. Powering the cars of the future is on the mind of a lot of engineers and energy storage systems will likely play a key role. Lamborghini (Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy) recently unveiled a new concept electric supercar, the Terzo Millennio – a collaboration between the Italian luxury car maker and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, Cambridge, MA, US) – that explores several innovations in energy storage and advanced materials.

According to Road Show, the car uses supercapacitors rather than batteries, which are capable of accepting and delivering a charge faster than today’s batteries. Supercapacitors can also withstand numerous charge cycles and boast storage capacities that are much higher than batteries or regular capacitors. 

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A multiyear, publicly funded research program, overseen by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and called System integrated Multi-Material Lightweight Design for E-mobility (SMiLE), combined composites and non-ferrous metals to reduce mass and costs for the entire body-in-white (BIW) structure of a battery-electric vehicle (BEV).  The rear floor module was designed using two types of thermoplastic composites plus metallic profiles and inserts. (Learn more in CW’s December 2018 Focus on Design.) In order to rapidly and cost-efficiently produce this load floor, a new one-step compression molding subprocess was developed and a new technology to rapidly heat and consolidate thermoplastic tapes was used.

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