CW Blog

My (immediate) family owns four cars. The oldest was manufactured in 2004. The youngest was manufactured in 2010. Three of them are hovering at or near 250,000 miles. Each of our cars, given its age and rate of use, is in decent if not great condition, but several are clearly near the end of their lives. When that end comes, the Sloan family will be in the market for a new vehicle.

Because our youngest vehicle is nine years old (and in possession of son #2), our exposure to new vehicles and new-vehicle technology is limited. That said, whenever I rent a vehicle during my travels, I appreciate the opportunity to assess makes, models, styles, comfort and features. These extended test drives give me a chance to evaluate everything from power to handling to sound system quality. Because of this, I have, over the years, become sensitive to the rate of vehicle feature evolution.

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Composite materials and innovations are constantly evolving. In addition to industry news, features, blog posts and podcasts, CW also maintains a comprehensive collection of product announcements provided by companies. This roundup includes links to regular posts concerning the latest products of interest to the composites industry.

Recent innovations include:

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The Museum of the Future currently under construction in Dubai (U.A.E.) is torus-shaped structure with an impressive façade comprised of 1,020 fire retardant composite panels The complex building is more than a visually stunning architectural design — it’s a good example of the benefits of building with advanced composites. 

Lightweight carbon and glass fiber prepregs are combined with a stainless steel outer cladding to produce the building’s exterior. Each of the building’s 3D cladding panels is unique with Arabic calligraphy molded into each individual panel. 

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By: Sara Black 18. February 2019

JEC World 2019 Preview

The JEC World trade show and conference, the largest composites event in the world, will be held at the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center, March 12-14, 2019. More than 1,300 exhibitors are expected this year and they feature many of the established and new materials, machinery, software and services that are shaping the global composites industry.

JEC World 2019 includes a three-day technical conference, sponsored by Altair Engineering Inc. (Troy, MI, US) and featuring six sessions, each with a different market focus. This year, JEC is focusing on what it considers the hottest topics in the industry: additive manufacturing, aerospace, architecture and construction, automotive, simulation/design, and sports and leisure. As in past years, the JEC Innovation Awards will identify, promote and reward the most innovative composites projects worldwide, in a range of market sections that include automotive and road transportation, aerospace, defense, security and ballistics, renewable energy, building and construction, infrastructure and civil engineering, oil and gas, medical and prosthetics, electronics, industrial equipment, furniture and appliances, sports and leisure, and marine. A panel of 10 technical, research and market experts will decide the award winners, to be announced on Wednesday, March 13.The Innovation Awards are supported by industry sponsor Kordsa (Istanbul, Turkey).

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Long-lead-time tooling is a common limiting factor in aerospace development. A joint venture program between Bell (Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.) and Thermwood Corp. (Dale, Ind., U.S.) recently explored a solution, resulting in what Thermwood claims may be “the largest 3D printed autoclave-capable tool ever made.” 

Bell enlisted Thermwood to print a closed-cavity helicopter blade mold measuring approximately 20 feet long, 14 inches wide and 17 inches high. The tooling was required to meet several requirements: It must be printed in one continuous run for vacuum integrity, its surface finish must be 32 RMS or better and it must be able to withstand 90 psi at 360°F. Tight tolerances were also required to ensure proper mating of the two blade mold halves.

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