Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Article has got published in couple of magazines and websites.Biocomposites in Automotive Applications

ATK Research on NASA advanced graphite composite booster

ATK has achieved a milestone in its NASA Research Announcement (NRA) Advanced Booster risk-reduction program for the Space Launch System (SLS) by successfully completing filament winding of a pathfinder Advanced Booster composite case.

Ultimately, this Advanced Booster NRA effort will enable NASA and ATK to optimize a case design that will be stronger, yet more affordable than traditional steel cases. In turn, this will provide increased payload performance due to reduced weight inherent in composite materials.

The pathfinder article is a 92-inch-diameter, 27-foot-long composite case. In order to achieve both the affordability and performance required of an Advanced Booster, ATK overcame challenges during case winding operations. ATK leveraged 45 years of composite case winding experience, its experienced workforce, and a modern fiber-placement tooling system to achieve success on its first attempt.

ATK has manufactured more than 1,600 commercial solid rocket motors to date, many of which use composite cases and high-energy propellants, for a wide variety of launch vehicles including Delta II and Delta IV, as well as Orbital's Pegasus, Taurus, Minotaur and Antares space launch vehicles. ATK first entered the commercial launch vehicle market in 1987 when it developed its first commercial composite motor, the GEM-40, which is still being used on the Delta II launch vehicle. ATK's commercial product line includes GEM, CASTOR, and Orion solid rocket motors.

The next step in the Advanced Booster NRA program is to continue development of high performance and low-cost propellants that meet the lofty payload and affordability goals of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS). These propellants, many of which are also widely used in ATK commercial solid rocket motors, combined with the achievements made in composite case technology, will provide NASA several options for performance increases for the next generation Advanced Booster.

On the existing SLS boosters ATK's Value Stream Mapping (VSM) process, which is a company-wide business practice, allowed the employees to identify inefficient processes, procedures and requirements to help reach the target condition. Through this process, ATK identified more than 400 changes and improvements, which NASA approved. These changes have reduced assembly time by approximately 46 percent, saving millions of dollars in projected costs for the SLS system.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

BIOTEC at K 2013: Unveiled Biobased BIOPLAST 500 Resin for Film Applications

BIOTEC presented a real breakthrough in biodegradable bioplastic resins fit for film applications during the K 2013.
With a biobased carbon share of more than 50% and intended suitable for film applications, the new BIOPLAST 500 is a real forerunner on the bioplastics market. Biodegradable bags are ready to meet the challenges of European waste disposal regulations that now require more than 40% biobased contents.
The "OK compost HOME" certification also allows bags made of BIOPLAST to comply with waste disposal policies that strongly put the stress on home composting.

Enhanced technical properties

"The challenges to tackle were significant. Process ability and mechanical properties were key factors. And we are extremely proud to announce that BIOPLAST 500 can be extruded down to 18 microns films" says Harald Schmidt CEO of BIOTEC. "Our research team has been working for 3 years in order to deliver such performances, BIOPLAST 500 shows BIOTEC's ability to develop innovative products that can meet market and regulation needs" says Peter Brunk Managing Director of BIOTEC.

Technical data

BIOPLAST 500 is designed for blown film extrusion for the following applications:
  • short life packaging
  • multi-use bags (e.g. carrier bags, loop-handle bags),
  • single-use bags ( biowaste bags, bin liners, etc.)
  • agricultural film.
Films made of BIOPLAST 500:
  • consist mainly of renewable raw materials
  • are home compostable ("OK compost Home" certificate awarded by Vinçotte)
  • are biodegradable according to EN 13432
  • are recyclable
  • are printable by flexographic and offset printing without pretreatment
  • have a soft touch
  • can be colored with masterbatches
  • are sealable (hot, RF, ultra sonic)

Source: BIOTEC GmbH & Co. KG

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Toray Industries agrees to acquire Zoltek Companies

The global demand for PAN-based carbon fibers is expected to expand at an annual growth rate of exceeding 15% as an advanced material which contributes not only to energy saving through weight reduction but also to spread of renewable energy as alternative of fuel (oil and coal) energy. On the one hand, regular tow carbon fiber is widely being accepted in the field of high performance / high quality application such as aerospace, but on the other hand, large tow carbon fiber is anticipated to expand its applications, based on its reasonable balance between cost and performance, to wind energy-related which shows rapid demand growth in recent years, and automobile structural parts in future. It is foreseen that demands for regular tow carbon fiber and large tow fiber will grow separately, reflecting each characteristic.

Zoltek entered into large tow carbon fiber business in 1988, and acquired textile acrylic fiber plants in Hungary and Mexico in 1996 and 2007 respectively, and has been promoting development of large tow carbon fiber application and demand. Under its unique marketing strategy distinguished from that of regular tow manufacturers, Zoltek has recently realized outstanding growth in its business along with the demand increase in wind energy-related application, pursuing its ultimate cost competitiveness. 

Toray has showed its presence in the field of advanced applications such as aerospace represented by Boeing 787 and natural gas pressure vessel by concentrating its business resource to high performance / high quality regular tow carbon fiber. Meanwhile, not having large tow carbon fiber as its product line up, Toray has been considering how to address promising growth in commodity industrial field such as wind energy-related application and automobile structural parts application. By acquiring Zoltek, Toray has obtained opportunity for further growth, expanding its business in totally different field from regular tow carbon fiber.

As one of its strategically expanding businesses, Toray has promoted business expansion of carbon fiber composite materials business by proactively allocating business resources. Through entering into large tow carbon fiber business, Toray aims at further expanding its business and providing solution to global issues including environmental, resource-related and energy issues with this advanced material.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

BASF at K 2013: Unveils Metal Replacing Semi-aromatic PA Grades for Specialized Applications

When it comes to replacing metals with intelligent plastic solutions, one can easily lose track of the spectrum of possible applications, also beyond the realm of automotive construction. Handles for doors and windows often have internal parts made of die-cast zinc that can be replaced with plastic. Heavy and expensive metals are still being used for sports equipment, household appliances, and furniture and even for thermal separators and assembly systems in solar modules. However, there are hardly any choices between standard polyamide – which does not always meet the requirements – and costly high-performance materials. In a quest to fill this gap, BASF has now expanded its Ultramid® portfolio and is introducing two new materials upon the occasion of the K 2013 plastics trade fair. Ultramid D3EG10 FC Aqua® and Ultramid D3EG12 HMG are two materials that are suitable for replacing metal in many different, and yet highly specialized, areas of application.

Balancing act between cost and performance

Aside from the two classic advantages of plastics, namely their potential for lightweight construction and function integration, an important role is also played by the thermal and electric insulation capacity of these materials. Whenever standard plastics reach their technical limits, users first turn to high-performance plastics. The actual implementation, however, is then often thwarted by cost considerations since high-performance plastics are often very expensive, particularly when they contain fillers such as carbon fibers. This is where the two new materials can come to the rescue.
Thanks to its good chemical and hydrolysis resistance, Ultramid D3EG10 FC Aqua is a polyamide specialty well-suited for components that come into contact with drinking water. This material has all of the usual drinking water approvals. And then, there is Ultramid D3EG12 HMG, which is a polyamide that stands out for its high modulus of elasticity of over 20,000 MPa. This is why it is the product of choice to replace visible die-cast metal parts since, in spite of its extraordinarily high glass fiber content of 60 percent, this material has extremely good surface properties.
These two partly aromatic polyamides were systematically developed as a high-performance complement to the standard assortment. Both of them are very stiff, display good creep behavior and are relatively irrespective of moisture in comparison to standard polyamide. For this reason, these two products lend themselves to cost-effectively replacing metal parts in almost all areas of application.

For drinking water – water meters and more

With Ultramid D3EG10 FC Aqua, BASF is also expanding its line of products developed for contact with drinking water. The special requirements stipulated for parts that come into contact with drinking water include very low migration values, a high level of taste neutrality, and substantiation that long-term contact with the plastic will not cause accelerated algae growth. Moreover, these plastics of the Aqua product line are also approved for food contact (FC).
An attractive application example of the Aqua grades is housings for water meters. Conventional brass housings have a high content of expensive copper as well as up to three percent lead to enhance processing. Lead-free materials are now acquiring greater significance since the limit value for lead in drinking water will be lowered from 0.025 mg/l to 0.01 mg/l in the member states of the European Union as of December 2013. Not least because of its strength and toughness, Ultramid D3EG10 FC Aqua is well-suited for such applications. Moreover, this polyamide exhibits reduced water absorption as well as high stiffness, and it can withstand dynamic load cases of the type encountered, for instance, when single-lever mixer taps are shut off abruptly.

More flexible than die-cast metal

The materials earmarked as metal substitutes are first evaluated in terms of their mechanical properties. They are competing with die-cast zinc and die-cast aluminum. The extraordinary mechanical properties of Ultramid D3EG12 HMG have led to the suffix HMG, which stands for "high modulus grade" and emphasizes its very high modulus of elasticity. A remarkable characteristic of polyamide is that, on the one hand, it consistently retains its high modulus of elasticity in the conditioned as well as in the dry state. On the other hand, thanks to the reduced moisture absorption, the tensile strength in the conditioned state only drops slightly as compared to the dry state. Aside from the mechanical properties, there are other characteristics such as thermal behavior or chemical resistance that also need to be taken into account. Thus, this material stands out, among other things, for a broad processing window, which is reflected in moderate mold and melt temperatures.

Visible parts made of highly filled polyamide

The new Ultramid D3EG12 HMG is thus a logical addition to the Ultramid portfolio. In spite of its high glass fiber reinforcement, this material is just right for the production of finished products having high-quality surfaces such as office chairs. This property combination alone opens up interesting application possibilities, both in visible applications and for sealing purposes. Ball shut-off valves are already being made of the HMG material nowadays.
It is precisely here that the high surface quality entails an additional advantage: the sealing surfaces of components made of Ultramid D3EG12 HMG are so smooth that there is no need for any rework. This is another strong point of the plastic version, which is why it is often the more cost-effective alternative in comparison to metal. During material development, BASF assesses the surfaces on the basis of realistic sample parts.

Economical thanks to plastics-oriented design and to parts testing

As a rule, metal designs cannot be transferred directly to plastic. As a matter of principle, a plastic part should be designed completely separately from the precursor variant. Precisely when the switch is being made from a metal to a plastic solution, it is often practical and economically advantageous to work with appropriate simulation programs as soon as possible, that is to say, already during the initial concept for the component, and also to utilize available plastic know-how. BASF experts are on hand to help customers with expertise in materials and processes in order to maximize the technical and economic potential of a plastic for a specific application. Conversely, however, it can also happen that a metal solution is the more economical variant, particularly in the case of simple geometries.
In individual cases, BASF offers the possibility to test components. For instance, the BASF flow laboratory has facilities to test the long-term resistance of water meters, pipe fittings or other parts that come into contact with water when exposed to chlorinated water at different temperatures, pressures, pH values and flow rates, even over the course of thousands of hours. Bursting-pressure tests or other customer-specific tests are likewise possible.
All in all, the new materials, along with knowledge about product behavior in realistic scenarios and with cutting-edge computational tools, open up new and promising perspectives in component development.

Source: BASF