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11/18/2013 | 4 MINUTE READ

Product highlights: JEC Americas 2013, Boston

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CompositesWorld reports on some of the new products introduced at the JEC Americas 2013 show, held recently in Boston, Mass., USA.

JEC Americas 2013 was held recently in Boston. CompositesWorld was there and has this report on some of the new products introduced at the show. 

Digital image correlation software enhances materials testing
Instron (Norwood, Mass., USA) launched DIC Replay, a new 2-D digital image correlation software package that can be integrated into any of the company’s dual-column universal mechanical testers and is ideal for composites materials testing, according to director of global composites testing group, Lorenzo Majno. DIC is an optical technique that compares images of a tested specimen’s surface to generate full-field strain and displacement maps. In other words, it provides a finite element analysis (FEA)-style picture to visualize strain and displacement over the full 2-D surface of the test specimen. According to Majno, this is strain testing that is more about overall structure vs. point-to-point. This powerful capability unlocks the true story of the material behavior and allows materials testing professionals to analyze a number of advanced strain characteristics after the test. While the DIC technique has been around for more than a decade, many users have struggled with a complex user interface and synchronization problems. Responding to this challenge, DIC Replay is streamlined for the materials testing community with an interface that is said to be simple and familiar. Also, Instron’s DIC package features built-in synchronization of DIC images with test data collected, including load and position.

Innegra H olefin-carbon fiber laminate outperforms straight carbon
Earlier this year, Innegra Technologies (Greenville, S.C., USA) launched its Innegra H line of fibers — hybrids of the company’s high-performance polypropylene-based yarn integrated at the filament level with high-modulus fibers, including carbon, glass, basalt and aramid. This process is in contrast to other hybrid yarns that are joined by cabling or twisting and, as such, the mechanical integrity of the fibers is not compromised, according to VP of sales, marketing and business development, Jeff Ettin. The product line offers cost reduction opportunities in a range of applications that do not require continuous thermal resistance of more than 300°F/149°C, ranging from lighter weight and impact-resistant sporting equipment to interior automotive parts. Ettin confirms that the latter represents a major thrust for the product line with testing by OEMs currently underway in roof and door panels. Impact strength data collected through third-party testing shows that a three-ply laminate of Innegra HC PP/carbon fiber outperforms four- and five-ply pure carbon fiber laminates by 50 percent and  37.5 percent, respectively. Moreover, Ettin points out that Innegra costs one-third less than standard filament carbon fiber and as much as two-thirds less than aircraft grades.

Hot-melt towpreg for pressure-vessel applications and variable-cure epoxy resin system
Mitsubishi Rayon Carbon Fiber & Composites’ Composite Materials Div. (Irvine, Calif., USA) is offering a new hot-melt epoxy towpreg for Type III (metal-lined) and Type IV (plastic-lined) pressure vessels. Unlike most other such towpregs, which use wet winding, this product does not need to be wetted, according to technical sales manager Max Thouin. “This matrix has a perfect level of elongation to the resin, allowing the fiber to be loaded at 100 percent and is also very processing friendly. There result is the best possible alignment of the fiber, be it carbon, glass or a combination of both." Also newly launched is NB 5300 variable cure epoxy resin system. While more reactive than most epoxies, this material is said to be more stable at room temperature. It is well suited to the boat-hull market for long cure at 160°F/71°C, or consumer goods including sporting equipment, industrial rollers and medical prosthetics for a 5-minute cure at 275°F to 285°F (135°C to 141°C). This in contrast with most epoxy resin systems, which fall in the 250°F to 285°F range and cannot be cured at low/room temperature. Moreover, it boasts a one-month shelf life. 

Fast-cure epoxy prepregs, carbon/nylon 6 tapes for automotive
New developments aimed at structural automotive applications from Barrday Advanced Material Solutions (Millbury, Mass., USA; Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) include the company’s snap-cure epoxy prepregs, including a less than 5-minute product available in either fabric or unidirectional tape. It is designed for use in structural body panels, for which, according to VP of sales and marketing Jordan Rangooni, the company is close to getting a Class A application. Also under development are carbon-fiber/nylon 6 tapes for local reinforcement and automotive structural applications including underbody, underhood and B-pillars for use with either thermoset or metal parts. The company has also developed a new high-temperature silicone adhesive primarily for heat shielding and wire harness automotive and industrial applications.

PMI foam for damage tolerant structures
Evonik (Parsippany, N.J., USA; Marl, Germany) has developed a new lightweight and robust polymethacrylimide (PMI) foam core that is said to provide improved damage tolerance and visibility and also can save weight. Rohacell Hero reportedly delivers superior mechanical performance, even at low densities, and, when used in integral design, requires no potting or secondary bonding. In contrast to honeycomb cores used in aircraft applications, closed-cell Rohacell Hero foam does not collect water, reducing the risk of vapor or ice formation substantially. A study conducted earlier this year at the Fraunhofer IWM Institute (Halle, Germany) confirmed Hero has the same ratio of impact damage size/visibility that is possible with a honeycomb core. This included testing at different impact energies ranging from 3J to 35J at the most critical temperature of 55°C/131°F. Boasting more elongation-at-break and better impact strength properties than competitive foam cores, the Hero core is said to enable design freedom that leads to a cost-efficient process and high-quality finished parts. Production time is reportedly shortened since one-shot curing is possible, plus machining or thermoforming is said to be easy while waste is dramatically reduced. Evonik claims these advantages combined can result in a 30 percent finished part cost reduction over use of honeycomb cores.