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CompositesWorld News for Jan. 20, 2020

Read news from Lambient Technologies, Evonik, SGL Carbon SE, and Solvay Composite Materials
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Cure testing services available for suppliers, fabricators

Lambient Technologies LLC now offers cure testing services for companies working with thermoset resins or advanced composite materials.

Precision measurement solutions specialist Lambient Technologies LLC (Cambridge, Mass., U.S.) now provides cure testing services for companies working with thermoset resins or advanced composite materials. According to the company, customers can use this data to identify flaws or inconsistencies in raw materials obtained from outside suppliers, such as variations in curing behavior between batches or within a roll of prepreg material. With data provided by Lambient Technologies, companies can work with suppliers to improve the consistency of raw materials.

Whether an organization needs to test incoming resins or prepreg materials that it receives from suppliers or needs to test consistency of outgoing materials that it is supplying to other companies, Lambient Technologies says its testing services provide researchers with critical information about the curing of their materials, illustrating the effect of formulation and different time-temperature schedules on cure and cure time. 

In addition, customers can submit material samples before engaging in testing services, incurring no charges if Lambient Technologies determines that the material is one that cannot be measured with its equipment. If customers engage in testing services and then decide to purchase one of Lambient’s DEA instruments, a portion of the testing expenditure will be applied to the cost of an instrument.

In addition to its testing services, Lambient Technologies designs, produces  and sells instruments for real-time analysis of the curing of thermosets and advanced composite materials such as those used in aerospace, automotive and wind applications. 




Evonik's VESTALITE S curing agents win automotive award

Evonik’s epoxy hardener for use in SMCS for automotive applications won IALTA’s 2019 Automotive Lightweight Green Technology Award.

sheet molding compound (SMC) battery case based on VESTALITE S curing agent

Battery case based on VESTALITE S. Source | Evonik

Evonik (Parsippany, N.J., U.S.) announced on Jan. 7 that its Crosslinkers Business Line has received award recognition from the International GREEN Auto Lightweight Technology Alliance (IALTA) for its VESTALITE S epoxy hardener for use with sheet molding compounds (SMC).

With the annual Automotive Lightweight Green Technology Award, IALTA recognizes technologically innovative companies that have made outstanding contributions to the development of innovative international automotive lightweight and green technology applications. The award recognizes technologies that are significantly beneficial for vehicle energy-saving, emission-reduction and safety as well as the application of lightweight vehicle material. The 2019 award was presented to Evonik at an event in Hefei, China in December 2019.

Evonik’s VESTALITE S curing agents have been developed for use with epoxy SMC materials in automotive applications, designed to meet increasingly stringent requirements for both lightweight design and vehicle indoor air quality. VESTALITE S is said to improve the technical properties and workability of high-performance SMCs for use in e-mobility applications and automotive lightweight construction.

“VESTALITE S curing agents in combination with epoxy resins result in SMC materials that are quick and easy to process for structural lightweight applications with minimal emission values,” says Dr.-Ing. Leif Ickert, who is responsible for marketing of composites and adhesives in Evonik’s Crosslinkers business line.




SGL Carbon to produce carbon fiber composite air taxi landing gear

SGL Carbon reports a series order for 500 of its ultra-light composite landing gears, with serial production to begin in early 2021.

design for SGL Carbon carbon fiber composite air taxi landing skids

Design for air taxi landing skids developed with carbon fiber composites. Source | SGL Carbon

SGL Carbon (Weisbaden, Germany) reported on Jan. 20 that it will begin serial production of air taxi landing gear made from braided carbon fiber material early next year. The landing skids will be installed in around 500 air taxis worldwide over the next two years, the company says.

The 2-meter-wide by 1.5-meter-wide ultra-light landing skids will weigh less than 3 kilograms, making them about 15% lighter than a similar component made from aluminum. SGL Carbon says lightweighting is particularly important for increasing potential flight time capacity of the electric motor-powered air taxis.

The landing gear was developed in collaboration with customer experts and specialists from SGL Carbon. The carbon fibers for the component are produced at the SGL Carbon plant in Muir of Ord, Scotland. The final part is being manufactured at the SGL Carbon site in Innkreis, Austria.

“With with our landing gear, we help to shape this very new, promising application of manned, autonomous civil aviation. This involvement also demonstrates our wide range of services. From engineering, to prototype manufacture, to serial production with our own materials — all of our competences along the entire value chain made a contribution to the project,” says Dr. Andreas Erber, head of the aerospace segment of the Composites — Fibers & Materials business unit at SGL Carbon.




NASA, SpaceX complete successful test of Crew Dragon abort system

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon completes final major flight test before it begins carrying astronauts to the International Space Station.

spaceX, NASA, crew dragon, launch abort system

Source | NASA

NASA (Washington, D.C., U.S.) and SpaceX (Hawthorne, Calif., U.S.) completed a launch escape demonstration of the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket January 19. This was the final major flight test of the spacecraft before it begins carrying astronauts to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which is working with the American aerospace industry as companies develop and operate a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems capable of carrying crews to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station.

The launch escape test was conducted to test the spacecraft’s capability to safely separate from the rocket in the unlikely event of an inflight emergency.

“This critical flight test puts us on the cusp of returning the capability to launch astronauts in American spacecraft on American rockets from American soil,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “We are thrilled with the progress NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is making and look forward to the next milestone for Crew Dragon.”

As part of the test, SpaceX configured Crew Dragon to trigger a launch escape about 1.5 minutes after liftoff. All major functions were executed, including separation, engine firings, parachute deployment and landing. Crew Dragon splashed down just off the Florida coast in the Atlantic Ocean.

“As far as we can tell thus far, it’s a picture perfect mission. It went as well as one can possibly expect," said Elon Musk, Chief Engineer at SpaceX. 

Teams of personnel from SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force 45th Operations Group’s Detachment-3 out of Patrick Air Force Base are workint to recover the spacecraft for return to SpaceX facilities in Florida and begin the recovery effort of the Falcon 9, which broke apart as planned.

“Today, we watched the demonstration of a system that we hope to never use, but can save lives if we ever do,” said astronaut Doug Hurley.

Prior to the flight test, teams completed launch day procedures for the first crewed flight test, from suit-up to launch pad operations. The joint teams now will begin the full data reviews that need to be completed prior to NASA astronauts flying the system during SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission. 




Solvay unveils Double Diaphragm Forming automated demonstrator line

The automated line at Solvay's Heanor, U.K. facility combines with the company's fast curing technologies for a 3-minute takt time on cured parts.

Solvay Double Diaphragm Forming automated demonstrator line

Source | Solvay

On Jan. 17, Solvay (Alpharetta, Ga., U.S.) announced the completion of its Double Diaphragm Forming (DDF) demonstrator line at its Heanor, U.K. site.

The fully automated line, combined with Solvay’s fast curing technologies, is reported to go from raw material to cured parts within a 3-minute takt time, which Solvay says will open new opportunities for high-rate composite part manufacture.

During a customer event with more than 150 composite industry experts in attendance, Solvay shared its industrialization strategy before presenting its DDF technology and unveiling the new demonstrator line which will be used to develop, de-risk and validate the suitability of the technology for customers’ applications.

“Solvay’s R&I team has achieved a key milestone in the industrialization of composites, developing and building a line that illustrates the vast possibilities and increased rate capabilities that automation brings to both the automotive and aerospace industries. The huge market interest we are receiving is a testimony to our team’s vision for the future of the composites industry,” says Carmelo Lo Faro, president of Solvay Composite Materials Global Business Unit.