US Navy Resin Will Make Composites Stronger, Flame-Resistant & Cheaper to Process
A new high-performance, PEEK-like phthalonitrile resin developed by the US Naval Research Laboratory is resistant to high temperatures, flammability, and impacts, and can be processed using standard methods like resin infusion molding and resin transfer molding. Loss tangent characteristics and excellent dielectric permittivity make it especially useful in applications where RF transparency is required, such as high-temperature radomes that shield radar antennae like the one on the top of this E-2C Hawkeye aircraft. (Source: US Navy)
Rob, I discovered the US Navy's research when I was looking into "nautical" robots. One of the robotic jellyfish we wrote about, RoboJelly, as well as its big brother Cyrus, are projects funded by the Office of Naval Research. The NRL is only one entity involved in various types of research, and it also serves the Marines.
Ann-very informative article. Kudos to your level of intellect and experience in this very technical arena of advanced material sciences. I knew that you were a materials person, but you've just raised your own bar! You've delved into materials processing topics I have absolutely zero knowledge of, including resin infusion molding (RIM) and resin transfer molding (RTM).
Regarding the physical properties descriptions of this stuff --- (Phthalonitrile – did I pronounce that correctly-? ) --- thermal and water-absorption resistance, coupled with its strength are impressive. Thanks for opening this door for me; looking forward to learning more.
Wow, thanks, Jim. I wasn't sure if readers wanted something this technical, but many discussions like this one just don't reduce down. RTM and RIM are standard processes that have been around awhile but not for high-performance materials like this one.
ON the issue of technical writing, DN has consistently evidenced that the deeper a technical issue is, the lesser the comments. (Case in point; this article). But I think that should be expected; -- for example, there have been several other deep articles from Guest Bloggers that I couldn't begin to comment on. The interested field of commenters just naturally narrows.
ON the subject of RIM, I was [minimally] familiar with another industrial process – Reaction Injection Molding (a different RIM) which is [loosely translated as] an injection of a 2-part epoxy. A very slow processing time because 'cure' is required. Checking my old faithful resource, Wikipedia doesn't have a page for your definition of RIM but does link it to your other suggested process, Resin Transfer (RTM).
Always interesting to learn about new things – Thanks!
Ann, while I don't have a use for this information today, it is certainly handy to have. This source of knowledge is a resource, and like most resources becomes reallyn valuable wnen you need it, and only "interesting" the rest of the time. I can see an immediate application of this material in high frequency hiher power RF electrical applications.
What was not mentioned about the new material was outgassing, which affects the usefulness of a material for satellite and space applications, and also for semiconductor fabrication applications.
The Navy's new powerful LaWS laser weapon is great at taking out composite targets over a mile away. How much time before other countries like China and Russia design their own and burn through our composites?
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