Composite Materials Features

Find in depth design and production features about composites. Our editors bring you a host of the latest thinking, innovation, materials views and opinions about new and exotic composites, how to design to get the most from them, and new methods to manufacture them as cost effectively as possible.

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05/09/2019

MakerBot’s Method X brings real ABS 3D printing to manufacturing at a fraction of the cost

MakerBot has announced the launch of Method X, a manufacturing workstation engineered to challenge traditional manufacturing with real ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) material, a 100°C chamber, and Stratasys SR-30 soluble supports to deliver exceptional dimensional accuracy and precision for complex, durable parts. Method X is capable of printing real ABS that can withstand up to 15°C higher temperatures, is up to 26% more rigid, and up to 12% stronger than modified ABS formulations used on desktop 3D printer competitors. Real ABS parts printed on Method X have no warping or cracking that typically occurs when printing modified ABS on desktop platforms without heated chambers.  Read More

04/09/2019

Demonstrating the lightweighting potential in hybrid automotive body parts

In a comprehensive joint study, Henkel and RLE International have examined and validated the potential of high-performance structural foam for lightweighting in automotive body and closure parts. The study has revealed that fibre reinforced polymer components with structural foam ribbing and reinforcements can save more than 40 kg of weight per car compared to conventional all-metal designs.  Read More

03/09/2019

Engineering Materials Live: Too good to miss

Featuring top-level suppliers providing cutting-edge design and engineering solutions, Engineering Materials Live promises to make a visit more than worthwhile.  Read More

03/06/2019

Thermoplastics are quickly replacing metal parts

Aerospace applications are seeing a considerable rise in the innovative use of thermoplastics, as their strength and lightness makes them ideal for replacing metal parts.  Read More

31/05/2019

Graphite and the renewable revolution

Intermittent energy sources such as solar and wind power are an increasingly viable option for small and large-scale power applications thanks to improvements in energy storage.  Read More

30/05/2019

Silverstone hosts latest innovations

The co-located FAST and Engineering Materials Live exhibitions gave visitors a range of valuable insights.  Read More

01/03/2019

New material development transforms design and manufacturing processes

The use and availability of new materials sometimes not merely enhances an existing design or process, it revolutionises it entirely. As a global leader in materials manufacturing, Morgan Advanced Materials has more experience than most of this phenomenon and has developed a proprietary leachable material which significantly cuts investment casting times in turbine engine blades by up to 20%.  Read More

27/02/2019

3D printed carbon-composite wind tunnel model

One of the more significant applications in the aerospace sector is the new wind tunnel model of the Leonardo tiltrotor AW609 manufactured by CRP Technology for Leonardo Helicopter Division (Leonardo HD, formerly known as Agusta Westland).  Read More

26/02/2019

NCC's large-scale resin infusion capabilities enable full-scale manufacturing demonstrations

The National Composites Centre (NCC) and Composite Integration have successfully completed a year-long project to design and deliver a state-of-the-art, first of its kind, Large Scale Resin Infusion (LSRI) technology. This innovative system has been designed to meet the R&D demands of both aerospace and wind industry manufacturing where components can range from 17m up to 120m in length.  Read More

02/11/2018

Lighter landings

Aircraft landing gear has historically been manufactured with the same kinds of materials due to high safety records. Now, a UK project will use composites to reduce their weight by nearly a third, whilst also retaining their strength.  Read More

31/10/2018

Are 3D printing materials sustainable?

With additive manufacturing (AM) techniques being widely adopted in industries worldwide, design engineering and manufacturing are undoubtedly being ushered into a new era of development. But, how environmentally sustainable are AM materials?  Read More

05/09/2018

Composites prototypes can now be tested to the same tolerances as the finished product

In Modena, homeland of supercars and motor valley of Italy, Energica Motor Company has utilised F1 and Le Mans technologies and engineering to produce ‘Energica EGO’, the first high-performance full-electric motorcycle.   Read More

03/09/2018

Major improvements in filament fusion and laser sintering using polymer solutions are being demonstrated

PEEK polymer pioneer Victrex is preparing newly developed materials for Additive Manufacturing (AM). The first of these is a high strength material for laser sintering (LS) which attains lower refresh rates, resulting in improved recycling for unsintered powder. The second is a filament with better Z-strength than existing PolyArylEtherKetone (PAEK) materials and better printability for filament fusion (FF). The detailed technical results are expected to be presented at the bi-annual Additive Manufacturing conference of the University of Exeter Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing (CALM), in September 2018.  Read More

11/06/2018

Class knuckle

Ford C-segment cars, such as the Focus, could become more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly thanks to a lightweight rear suspension component designed by the CLASS (composite lightweight automotive suspension system) research project team.  Read More

11/06/2018

Materials take centre stage

Another successful Engineering Materials Live event was held in May, with visitors able to access some hugely valuable information to aid them in their materials selection.  Read More

12/03/2018

Is the automotive industry about to give up on advanced materials?

The automotive industry is on the cusp of some drastic changes. According to a recent report by analyst IHS Markit, changes in personal transportation over the next 20 years will be more profound than anything experienced over the past century. The signs are clear as electric vehicle (EV) production increases, ‘mobility-as-a-service’ – such as ride-hailing app Uber – continue to disrupt and autonomous vehicles (AVs) begin to emerge.  Read More

08/03/2018

Rail engineers are using advanced materials to improve operational efficiency

The buzz around metal replacement and lightweighting has become synonymous with automotive developments, with carmakers now spending millions to strip out excess kilos. The ultimate driver is, of course, efficiency and the push to meet impending EU tailpipe emission limits of 95g of CO2 per km across a manufacturer’s fleet. It is, and continues to be, a mammoth challenge.  Read More

06/11/2017

Finding a suitable alternative material can be a daunting step into the unknown

For every engineer, specifying a new material for a product – especially if the product’s already in production – can be a daunting task. There is a worry of the unknown, that phone call to tell you about unforeseen production problems, or even worse, of a potential product recall. For that reason, material selection can be, somewhat, of a conservative process that’s slow going and largely driven by pragmatism. This is no truer than in the medical sector where a justifiably stringent amount of regulation restricts many materials and outlines all kinds of tests and requirements beyond simply strength or density, for example.  Read More

05/09/2017

Composite to replace aluminium in gearbox housing design

When it comes to electric vehicles, keeping weight down is paramount in ensuring long range. In addition to the bodywork, drive components such as the housings, typically used in double reduction gearboxes, are of interest in terms of materials substitution and metal replacement.  Read More

05/09/2017

Recycling carbon fibre

The recycling of carbon fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRPs) not only makes sense from environmental and economic perspectives, it could also be key in increasing the penetration of these lightweight but expensive materials in high-volume markets such as automotive.   Read More

05/09/2017

Carbon fibre replacing metals and polymers as material of choice in medical applications

If you dig a little deeper into composite material application, you’ll soon uncover a hugely diverse range of less obvious uses in equipment for patient treatment and diagnosis, sometimes even beneath the skin of the patients themselves.  Read More

06/06/2017

Will Ford's composites move finally crack the automotive industry's throughput dilemma?

Carbon fibre is making a slow but seemingly inevitable move into the automotive industry. But can engineers crack the throughput difficulties that have dogged uptake? James Bakewell reports.  Read More

02/06/2017

Getting the right balance between innovation and commercialisation

Maintaining a creative culture whilst ensuring commercial success is an ongoing dilemma for many engineering and materials firms. So how can inventions be used more effectively to exploit commercial advantage and open up new opportunities?  Read More

07/03/2017

UK vies to become carbon fibre hub as supply chain initiative begins

As Europe's automotive industry grapples to lightweight structures and meet impending emission regulations, manufacturers are still reluctant to use carbon fibre composites. So, can a recent UK project bridge the divide? James Bakewell finds out.  Read More

23/02/2017

Dyson’s air purifier engineers fresh air like filtering water

The average pair of human lungs breathes 10L of air every minute. Air quality has an immediate effect on well-being and exposure to poor air quality can have lasting implications to health. A recent EU review estimates 50,000 Britons are dying prematurely each year from diseases caused by air pollutants, and six million working days are lost from air pollution-related illnesses. Among the most damaging pollutants are fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone. These tiny particles are suspended in the atmosphere and when inhaled, can cling to the lining of the lungs and cause respiratory illness and other lasting health issues.  Read More

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