Honeycomb cores have also been used in aerospace carbon fiber composites, such as the structure and blades of Sikorsky Aircraft's S-97 RAIDER helicopters and, reportedly, in the shell of Virgin Galactics' SpaceShip Two. A similar honeycomb sandwich structure is used in some parts of Boeing 787's Dreamliner.
The new material's honeycomb core is covered on both its top and bottom with glass fiber mats, then sprayed with the Baypreg system, which contains a flame retardant and may optionally also contain cut glass fibers. The component is placed in a compression mold while it is still moist and is pressed at a temperature of 130°C. The polyurethane system foams slightly and binds the components together. After about two minutes, the part can be removed from the mold and deburred.
Components as large as four square meters in area can be produced, yet they have excellent dimensional stability, allowing the parts to be installed in the final assembly with a high level of precision. "By using this new material, we can reduce the component’s weight by over 35 percent -- and cut costs by 30 percent," said Jan Kuppinger, a Fraunhofer ICT scientist, in a press release.
Bayer's Baypreg spray system has been used in automotive applications for producing panorama roof modules, spare tire covers, and the floor of a car's trunk. The team optimized the standard fiber spraying manufacturing process by developing a mixing chamber that allows more complex structures to be produced in any required size. The prototype diesel engine housing measures approximately 4.5 meters long and more than 2 meters wide.
The diesel engine housing prototype was produced as part of the PURtrain project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The prototype has passed its first strength test; the next step is field tests. If the prototype passes those tests, the team expects the material to also be useful in applications such as roof segments, side flaps, and wind deflectors for automobiles and commercial vehicles.
Ok, so it's jumbled, but that's the point. We've heard so much about the use of composites in the automotive sector and in aerospace, even with large-scale boats and yachts, but not so much in trains. Improved access to more efficient and cost-effective mass transportation is equally as important as alternative energy sources and lightweighting vehicles as part of green energy strategies. This is a cool development. Any big deals yet for the technology?
Many of the new adhesives we're featuring in this slideshow are for use in automotive and other transportation applications. The rest of these new products are for a wide variety of applications including aviation, aerospace, electrical motors, electronics, industrial, and semiconductors.
A Columbia University team working on molecular-scale nano-robots with moving parts has run into wear-and-tear issues. They've become the first team to observe in detail and quantify this process, and are devising coping strategies by observing how living cells prevent aging.
Many of the new materials on display at MD&M West were developed to be strong, tough replacements for metal parts in different kinds of medical equipment: IV poles, connectors for medical devices, medical device trays, and torque-applying instruments for orthopedic surgery. Others are made for close contact with patients.
New sensor technology integrates sensors, traces, and electronics into a smart fabric for wearables that measures more dimensions -- force, location, size, twist, bend, stretch, and motion -- and displays data in 3D maps.
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