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Plastics and Composites industry - latest news

NanoScience Center develops program to create graphene spray

The NanoScience Center, University of Central Florida (UCF), is working on a cost-effective, large area polymer/graphene sprayable coating for the protection of components against corrosion. The graphene oxide will be formulated in collaboration with Garmor, Inc., a UCF spin-off company. The coating would have extensive applications in the automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, military and medical industries.

Welding Journal, vol.93, no.4. April 2014. p.14.

3D printed, carbon fibre reinforced plastics for the masses

Graphite Additive Manufacturing has announced that its specialist 3D printed, carbon fibre reinforced plastic material is to be made more widely available. Graphite is currently the only service bureau in the UK market with a dedicated machine to run these highly advanced sintering materials. The carbon fibre reinforced plastic in the parts built by Graphite's process provides very high stiffness-to-weight and strength-to-weight ratios. Since the development of carbon-reinforced SLS materials in 2004, they have been the materials of choice for Formula One. Within this industry, wings, ducts and brake caps are now routinely manufactured using Carbon-SLS. Replacing a ‘traditional’ carbon composite part with Carbon-SLS can reap even greater benefits when the part design is optimised for the additive manufacturing technology. By exploiting the freedom in design offered by 3D printing, components can be built more efficiently by integrating features and functionality such as cooling channels, bores, threads and cores.


Why carbon fibre?

Discusses why carbon fibre is chosen over other high-performance fibres in a selection of advanced composite applications. Only considers fibres that are commercially available and also man-made including: E-glass; S2, T and R glass; aramid; PAN carbon in various grades; rayon-based carbon in various grades; and pitch-based carbon in various grades. Details how a few industries make the decision or what drives the decision. Applications considered include: yachting, aircraft interiors, motor racing, bicycles, satellites, radio telescopes, x-ray beds, ablative rocket nozzles, supercars and attache cases.

Reinforced Plastics News, 2 Apr. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/qgoq5rw

UK risks missing out on the composites opportunity – Institution of Mechanical Engineers

According to a new policy statement from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers - Composites: Consolidating the UK's Competitiveness - growth of the UK composites sector is being hampered by a number of factors, including: poor collaboration between companies; lack of appropriate codes and standards; a fractured supply chain; and a drop in the number of university courses offering composite-specific degrees. The Institution also says the government needs to ensure the UK does not get overshadowed by competition from countries such as China, Germany, the Middle East and India. It notes that the recycling of composites in the UK to date has been relatively small due to its low economic viability. Approximately 130,000 tonnes of glass fibre reinforced plastic is produced in the UK each year and that of the 67,000 tonnes of GRP waste produced per annum, an estimated 98% is likely to end up in landfill. It is therefore essential that as the market for composites grows, methods of recycling and recovery are developed. The Institution calls for investment from the government to find more cost-effective recycling methods as well as a collection and separation infrastructure. Applications for recycled composite materials also need to be developed and the use of bio- and natural composite materials should be encouraged.

Reinforced Plastics News, 2 Apr. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/pch3f4g

Is 4-D printing the next big thing in medical technology?

Says that 4-D printing is on the horizon, and researchers are already working on applications for medical technology. The fourth dimension in 4-D printing is time. Instead of using static materials for 3-D printing like plastic, the new technology deploys adaptive composite materials that change their shape and properties over time or when exposed to certain stimuli. Researchers at Nottingham Trent University built a 3-D printed device that can be customised to patients with heart failure. The balloon-like implant consists of silicone that expands when exposed to electricity. By expanding and contracting, the device supports the heart to circulate blood. Scientists from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University have used the 3D construction software of the company Autodesk to create nanorobots out of proteins for targeted drug delivery. In a process the company called DNA 'Origami', they print a structure resembling a clamshell basket. The structure functions as transport vehicles for antibodies. Once it gets into contact with cancer cells, IT changes its structure, thereby releasing the medicine.

EMDT, 5 Mar. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/p6qpgpy

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