Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Efficient Rovings for Wind Turbine Blades

For wind turbine blade applications, glass fiber yarns and reinforcements producer AGY has made available boron-free S-1 HM™ rovings suitable for both epoxy and polyester resin systems. According to ASTM calculations, in comparison to typical E-Glass products which offer tensile modulus of approx 70-75GPa, the S-1 HM™ rovings exhibit 90GPa tensile modulus of glass fibers, 20% more tensile modulus, 50 and 20% increase in compressive strength and compressive modulus, respectively, and consequently shows fatigue improvement by nearly 10-times. Added length of wind turbine blades allow the turbine to operate at full efficiency, thus reducing the cost of the electricity consumed, and also by and large make the complete wind turbine structure cost effective. The direct roving product form is tailored for standard conversion to unidirectional fabrics and prepregs, and multiaxial fabrics.

Evonik Introduces a New, Tougher Grade of PEEK

Evonik Industries have launched a new grade of PEEK, the VESTAKEEP® 5000 G that, according to the company, possesses 20 percent higher impact strength than any previously used PEEK grade. The new VESTAKEEP® is of particular interest for suppliers to the oil and gas industries, who work in the temperature range -40 to 150°C and sometimes significantly beyond these limits. The high elastic modulus of the new PEEK therefore meets increasing requirements with regard to long-term exposure to high temperatures.

Evonik claims that its partners and customers, who have tried out the new PEEK have been able to achieve higher tear strengths with VESTAKEEP® 5000 G than with any other PEEK material on the market.

A concrete example of an application is provided by very large gasket rings with diameters of up to 2000 mm. In the HCM process, the gasket rings formerly used to break during the attempt to press them into the cavity of the metallic base plate. A similar situation arose in the production of rings by the extrusion technique: Production previously failed because gravitational forces made a circular geometry of large diameter impossible. VESTAKEEP® 5000 G can withstand such stresses and large rings are easier to produce.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ski Socks & Ultra Durable Travel Bags Made from Arkema's Biosourced PA 11 to Hit the Market

One year after the market launch by Arkema of its Rilsan® 11 biosourced polyamide grade for the spinning of high performance synthetic textile fibers, the very first manufactured articles are entering the market: ski socks by Monnet, the French sports socks specialist, and a range of ultra durable luggage made from textiles by UNITIKA, a Japanese company specializing in technical fibers.

Last year Arkema presented at the TECHTEXTIL tradeshow a specific grade in its Rilsan® PA11 range of technical polymers derived 100% from castor oil, for extrusion into textile fibers. Just over a year later, articles made of Rilsan® featuring outstanding durability are about to enter the market.

Monnet, the famous sports and outdoor socks brand, have added to its "Green Vert" catalogue a range of new sports socks made of Rilsan® designed jointly with SOFILA, the French nylon yarn spinning specialist who recently developed Rilsan® PA11 fibers. These ski socks are typically very soft to the touch, lightweight and very comfortable, and offer natural bacteriostatic and thermoregulating properties. Tested by many manufacturers within the textile sector, Rilsan® PA11 fibers from SOFILA are soon to be used in many other hosiery brands.

In another sector, UNITIKA, a Japanese company specializing in technical fibers for garment and luggage manufacture, have contributed to the design of a new luggage range entirely manufactured from Rilsan® fiber. Thanks to Rilsan® 11, the outstanding characteristics of these bags include superior sturdiness and wear resistance.

Rilsan® PA11 production requires less fossil energy and entails lower CO2 emissions than the production of polymers of fossil origin. Arkema continues its development work on its biosourced polyamide in order to target new markets in which ecological challenges and a quest for technical performance have become a genuine concern as well as a differentiating factor.

Polymer-Treated Anti-Microbial Hospital Curtains

With an intention to eliminate hospital-acquired infections caused by harmful microorganisms such as viruses, pathogens, molds and fungi that come into contact with the curtains installed in the hospital premises, Nano Mask Inc has unwrapped antimicrobial curtains. The curtains are developed using the nano silver technology. As part of this technology, an antimicrobial colloid composed of silver nanoparticles is treated with polymers.

Charged magnetic waves coming out of silver nano particles not only kill the viruses, they also stop them to reproduce further. Nano silver technology is tested to have the ability to eradicate Staphylococcus aureus and its sub-species ATCC 6538P, Klebsiella pneumonia and gram negative ATCC 4352. The curtains are also flame-, mildew- and dust proof; anti-static; disposable and recyclable. Presently available in the US and Europe, the curtains come in three different styles and 13 different colors.

Hexagon Composites to Supply High Pressure Fuel Tanks to Daimler AG

Hexagon Composites ASA's wholly-owned subsidiary, Ragasco AS has signed a new major, multi-year contract with Daimler AG for the supply of high pressure containers. The contract covers the delivery of fuel tanks for natural gas to the next generation of today's Mercedes-Benz B-class. Ragasco AS is already supplying high-pressure containers in composite to today's Mercedes-Benz B-Class, an eco-friendly car that has been well received by the market.

The new contract, which is signed with Daimler, ensures a base of production volume for Ragasco beginning in the second half of 2012 and will contribute to the future goal to provide high-pressure products produced in an automated production line. Ragasco expects this production to become an integral part of the company's fully-automated production line for propane containers.

The new contract with Daimler supports the trust established through the development and delivery of high-pressure containers to other Mercedes models and platforms in recent years, and it confirms Ragasco's leading position in the industry. Containers in composite from Ragasco weigh only 30-35% of traditional CNG containers made of steel.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bus seats

SABIC Innovative Plastics and
Franz Kiel GmbH & Co KG
“We worked with SABIC Innovative Plastics’ Starflam resin because it matched our material needs, up to and including molding and design flexibility”, says Mr. Mill, Leader of Development of Franz Kiel GmbH.

Kiel chose XGen Starflam resin to make bus and tram seats for public seating.

When a bus or tram passes through tunnels, legislation requires the use of flame retardant
materials passing the DIN5510 flame retardancy standard. Other requirements of this application were stiffness and material ductility as well as good chemical resistance against aggressive cleaning agents. A big benefit is the possibility to color XGen Starflam PF1004 Z270, thereby potentially circumventing costly painting processes.

The molded bus/tram seat each weighs approximately 3 kilograms. All these requirements could only be met by the newly developed ECO FR 20 percent GF filled PA6 grade, XGen Starflam PF1004 Z270 resin.

XGen Starflam PF1004 Z270 resin is the first eco flame retardant PA 6 that passes the DIN5510 test while maintaining very good aesthetics. Furthermore, the resin can be molded in existing molds typically designed out for unfilled amorphous resins.

XGen Starflam resins have outstanding properties for applications, which require heat resistance, chemical resistance, toughness and electrical properties.

They are widely used in an extensive range of injection molding applications, such as connectors, thermal breaks, wheel trims and cooling fans.

In addition to general-purpose grades, XGen Starflam resin can be modified to improve specific properties by utilizing glass fiber, minerals, heat stabilizers and impact modifiers. XGen Starflam grades are available in PA6, PA6.6 and PPA.

XGen Starflam resin offers
• Excellent chemical resistance
• High strength
• Good processability - high flow and fast cycling • Heat resistance to 249 C
• Flammability rating of UL 94 V-0 @ 0.76mm • Low temperature ductility to -40 C
• Good dimensional stability
• Low thermal expansion
• Good electrical properties
• Recycle capabilities

Details at

First biomethane filling station in central and eastern Europe

Wastewater treatment firm Zalaviz opened the dispensing point in the town of Zalaegerszeg, in south-western Hungary. The firm uses the gas produced from organic sources to propel its own vehicles and they also plan that town's buses may take advantage of this fuel in the future.

This week, two new filling stations have widened the environment friendly facilities in the country. Besides the biomethane filling station, Hungary’s first charging station for electric vehicles was opened in Budapest.

Moreover, the European Union supports the Sustainable and Innovative European Biogas Environment (SEBE) project which studies the scope of sustainable biogas production in the continent.

SEBE is carrying out a venture to determined biogas possibilities, policies and frameworks needed to make it a successful renewable energy provider in Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and also Hungary.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A revolutionary helmet that won't turn heads

In what could be the biggest innovation in motorcycle helmet design since the introduction of the expanded polystyrene foam liner, a UK-based technology partnership has developed a new construction that mimics the human skull’s own protection mechanism.

According to the developer of the new “SuperSkin” technology, Dr Ken Phillips, head trauma is the cause of more than 80% of motorcycle accident fatalities. A key factor in these deaths is rotational head injury, serious damage to the brain structure caused by rapid transfer of rotational force to the brain during impact between the helmet shell and surfaces such as the road.

Phillips looked to nature’s own construction of the head when trying to come up with a solution. His SuperSkin concept mimics the “skull and skin” structure of the human head, which allows the skin to slip over the surface of the hard skull to absorb rotational energy.

“While we cannot prevent road accidents altogether, by creating a helmet that replicates a much stronger version of the human skull and skin that protects our brains, we can go a long way to saving innumerable lives,” says Phillips.

Phillips turned to UK-based product design and development company Industrial Design Consultancy (IDC) to turn his concept into a working helmet design.

“Traditionally, motorcycle helmets have been rigid in design. We needed to introduce a dynamic element of movement to dramatically reduce the rotational impact which often causes life-threatening injuries,” says IDC managing director Stephen Knowles.

In the SuperSkin design the hard helmet shell is covered with an outer flexible membrane that is able to stretch and slide over the shell surface to minimise the rotational forces transmitted to the brain.

IDC’s engineering team developed a 1mm-thick thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) membrane that sits on a specially formulated non-drying polymer gel lubricant. The membrane, which is thermoformed to the shape of the helmet shell, can stretch by up to 700%, allowing it to absorb high levels of energy during accident impact.

The remainder of the helmet construction is conventional. The hard shell can be produced in either composite or injection moulded thermoplastics; the liner is formed from expanded polystyrene.

The design has undergone testing at the UK-based Transport Research Laboratory and in the biomechanics department at the Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France. The results found that the maximum rotational speeds experienced in an accident with the SuperSkin design are one quarter of that measured with standard helmets, while rotational acceleration is reduced by two-thirds. As a result, risk of brain damage is reduced by around 67.5%.

The SuperSkin technology is being incorporated into two new helmets – open face and full-face variants - produced by Lazer Helmets of Belgium. Prices range from €170 to €230. The helmets can be supplied in the natural translucent finish of the membrane or painted using flexible paint.
Meanwhile, Philips, through his company Phillips Helmets, is working with IDC to develop additional applications for the SuperSkin technology in areas such as horse riding.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gas Diffusion Layer Made of Carbon Fiber Fabric for Fuel Cells

Owing to the increasing demand of fuel cells, Toho Tenax has developed an improved gas diffusion layer (GDL) using carbon fiber fabric that is meant to be used in fuel cells as an electrode component. The innovation is claimed to perform high-speed roll-to-roll processing. In the absence resins, unlike paper-based GDLs (carbon fiber sheets impregnated with resins), the improved GDLs show better water permeability, lower contact resistance (uniform textile surface obtained by spinning, weaving, and carbonizing), flexibility and strength. The new GDL will be available in 260µm and 320µm thicknesses; the development of 200µm ultra-thin fabrics is underway. This improvement in carbon fiber fabric can enhance performances of mobile devices, stationary power supplies and fuel cell vehicles.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cereplast Partners with Sezersan to Bring Bio-Based Twist Film Packaging to the EU Market

Cereplast, Inc., a leading manufacturer of proprietary bio-based, compostable and sustainable plastics, announced that it has partnered with Sezersan Ambalaj (Sezersan), a subsidiary of Asc Group in Turkey, to produce bio twist films made from Cereplast Compostables® resins. The first-of-its-kind, patented product will serve as wrap packaging for a variety of food products distributed throughout Europe.

The Sezersan bio twist film will be manufactured using Cereplast Compostables® 7003 bio resin, designed to provide high strength, toughness and process ability for products. Under the terms of the multi-million dollar agreement, Cereplast will begin monthly shipments of 100 to 150 metric tons of bio resin in December 2010. The new bio twist film has substantial form memory capability (dead-fold behavior) and is heat sealable. The film is also thinner than other twistable product and may be made into opaque or semi-transparent, film-like material. The bio twist film will be used as packaging for a variety of brands in the food industry in Europe.

"We are honored to partner with Sezersan and be the first to market with bio twist films which offer an environmentally sound alternative for their clients' packaging needs," said Frederic Scheer, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Cereplast, Inc. "Companies are increasingly looking at bio-plastics as an alternative to petroleum-sourced plastics in order to meet growing consumer and industrial demand for economically and ecologically sound, 'green' products."

"Cereplast bio resins will help us cater to consumer demand for an environmentally sound substitute for petroleum-based plastic packaging," said Mehmet Asc , President and CEO of Asc Group. "As one of the largest twist film producing companies in Europe, we are committed to listening to the concerns of our clients and to finding ways to improve our product offerings. Cereplast resin allows us to provide an environmentally intelligent alternative to traditional plastic products, helping to make the world a healthier place. We are excited to be the very first to offer this solution in our robust industry."

Cereplast, Inc. is actively producing bioplastic resins for use in products including tableware, cutlery, toys, healthcare and hygiene products, bottles and containers, bags, packaging, gift cards, printed displays, straws, pipes, conduits, and many other applications. This year, Cereplast is on track to ship 16 million pounds of bio-plastic resins to customers around the world, an increase of 400% from last year, in response to surging consumer and industrial demand for economically and ecologically sound, "green" products.