Thursday, April 23, 2009

Composites and Boeing

I know it is cliche to talk about Boeing and their use of composites on their new Dreamliner, however, here is an interesting video showing the impact resistance of composite sandwich panels used on their planes.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Composites Used in Solar Cars

Every year there is a solar car race, where teams of inventors and universities build cars that are totally powered by the sun. These cars then race across the desert in the World Solar Challenge.

All cars in attempt to lower weight, will be using carbon fiber. One such team for the Netherlands, is using thermoplastics as their resin matrix in combination with their lightweight sandwich panels.

It will be interesting to see how this event unfolds...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thermoplastic Composites vs Thermoset Composites

Many unfamiliar with composite materials see all Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) the same... However, this is not the case.

The common difference in composite materials is most often the structural fiber, be it carbon fiber, Kevlar, fiberglass (E-glass or S-Glass). A composite, by definition, is the combination of two or more materials. In FRP composites, the structural fiber is held together by a resin matrix, much the same how structural rebar is held in place by concrete.

In the advanced development of composite materials, the focus on the next generation has shifted from the structural fiber to the resin matrix. In the on going analysis, thermoplastic composites are beginning to show real potential. Main advantages include, recycle-ability, re-mold capabilities, no or low VOCs, long shelf life, and high impact resistance. For more information, here is a link to a good article by on the differences between thermoplastic composites and thermoset composites.

Increased impact resistance many thermoplastics display is a major attraction. Below is a video displaying a test on thermoplastic composites, and simulating an impact on a car door.