CW Blog

Composite chef’s knife a chef d’oeuvre

A while back ( I blogged about a luxurious version of a champagne flute, via carbon fiber and gold. The designer, Ragnar Friberg, is at it again, this time with a composite take on the chef’s knife.

Friberg tells me that the knife blade is hand-forged steel from Sakai (Sakai, Japan). The other elements include “Samurai” spread-tow carbon fabric [61 gsm] from Sakai Ovex (Fukui-City, Japan) made with Toho Tenax (Tokyo, Japan) HTS40 12k carbon fiber, and…moose skin. He explains “I laminate the composite layers, alternating carbon fiber fabric and moose skin, using epoxy supplied by Nils Malmgren [Ytterby, Sweden]. The layers are placed over a peel ply on a vacuum table to help hold the layers flat, because it is tough to get the moose skin totally soaked with the epoxy.” The layup goes into an aluminum mold, under a caul plate (160 by 80 by 7 mm in size), and is cured for 16 hours at 60°C. He points out that the outermost layer of the handle, made of moose skin with decorative inserts, is laminated separately to avoid any damage.

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New architectural composite hits the market

NewBrick by Dryvit (West Warwick, RI, US) is a new composite brick product, meant to substitute for venerable fired clay bricks and, the company says, revolutionize the installation of brick veneer façades and exteriors. With the same general dimensions as a standard brick, NewBrick is a fraction of the weight, at 2.45 lbs/square ft compared to about 28 to 30 lbs/square ft, and has numerous reported benefits — more on that below.

NewBrick starts as slabs or boards of expanded polystyrene (XPS) foam, stacked on pallets. A hot wire cutting machine cuts the slabs lengthwise into “sticks,” which are then machined to form the patented lip along one edge, which allows speedy installation while providing a guide to stacking each brick course to leave the right gap for mortar application. Then, workers apply a mesh or scrim to each stick, which strengthens the foam and helps with puncture resistance. Next, a “base coating” is applied, the secret sauce that gives the product its color and texture, followed by a final finish coat, then cutting of the sticks into the individual bricks. NewBrick’s Christine Blonay, director of strategic marketing at DryVit, tells CW that the base coating is a cement-based matrix with proprietary polymer additives and chopped fiberglass, for strength and durability: “With normal maintenance, the product is designed to last for the design life of a building. The product is fully tested and meets all building code requirements, including structural, durability and fire, for use as a veneer for buildings of any height.”

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Volvo performance brand features carbon fiber bodies

Automaker Volvo Car Group (Gothenberg, Sweden) made news last summer when it announced that by 2019 all of its vehicles would be hybrids or powered solely by electric motor. As part of that strategy, Polestar, Volvo Car Group’s performance brand, has revealed its future as a new standalone electric performance brand.

Polestar has confirmed plans for its first three models, a new purpose-built production facility in China and the 600-hp Polestar 1, the company’s first car, which is set to roll off the production line in mid-2019.

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Apple Store in Chicago features massive carbon fiber roof

Apple on Oct. 20 opened its Apple Michigan Avenue store in Chicago, IL, US, located on North Michigan Avenue at the Chicago River. The store, mostly subterranean, features a massive carbon fiber roof supported by four interior pillars, and a 32-ft ground-to-ceiling, all-glass facade.

The roof, which measures 111 by 98 ft, was manufactured by Premier Composite Technologies (PCT, Dubai, UAE). Neither PCT nor Apple would provide additional information about the roof except, according to Apple, that it was “designed to be as thin as possible.”

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This is #6 in my series on Automated Preforming. The first five can be found here:

There is also a print article on automated preforming, split into two parts:

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