Specialized expertise in composites

 

The Ikina Bridge. Steele, concrete and carbon fiber composite materials are widely used as reinforcing materials in building structures.They begin now to be used as earthquake-proof or supportive materials for buildings

Located throughout Japan are key centers of excellence in composites; both academic and industry based. In Tokyo, the main universities and independent centers in composites are:

while the main industries research centers in composites are Teijin’s Technology Innovation Centre, Material Analysis Research Center, and Plastics Technical Center, and the Toshiba R&D Center in Kawasaki.

In Nagoya, the Nagoya University School of Engineering is a key independent research center for composites, while important industry research centers in composites include Mitsubishi Heavy Industry Aeronautics Center, Toyota R&D Center, and Toray Advanced Composite Center.

Elsewhere in Japan, at Doshisha University is a R&D Center for Composite Materials, while industry research institutes focusing on composites include:

Also worth mentioning are the Japan Society for Composite Materials, The Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE®), the Japan Carbon Fiber Manufacturers Association, the Japan Reinforced Plastics Society

 

New open mold composite process

Two of the companies mentioned above have combined forces to develop the world’s first fiber-to-composite (FtoC) molding process to laminate fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) in open molds. It’s a co-development of Japanese materials and additives company Adeka and Teijin Group affiliate GH Craft – the group’s composite structure design, development and evaluation unit. 
At the recent SAMPE Japan international trade fair, which took place in Tokyo, November 29 to December 1, the two companies unveiled carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) samples made with their new FtoC molding process. 
The FtoC Molding Process automates resin impregnating, curing and laminating processes while aligning highly oriented fibers. A special new rapid-curing epoxy resin developed by Adeka enables FRP to be cured in just tens of seconds with GH Craft’s new molding process using infrared radiation.
Large-scale equipment such as curing ovens and press molds are not needed because the FRP can be laminated in an open mold. Compared to conventional composite production, the FtoC Molding Process considerably reduces fiber waste by directly placing the fibers in the molding tool without requiring intermediate steps. 
Moreover, by extending and highly orienting the fibers, the process produces glass-fiber-reinforced plastics (GFRP) with significantly improved performance, including 100 percent more bending strength, 40 percent more tensile strength and 75 percent more interlayer shear strength compared to conventional GRFP made with conventional resin transfer molding (RTM).
Going forward, Adeka will develop lineups of specialized resins for the FtoC Molding Process and GH Craft will develop practical applications leading to actual products. Furthermore, the companies aim to jointly create a new composite market sector by working to establish the FtoC Molding Process as a de facto standard for FRP production.

 

Written by Denzil Walton

Denzil Walton is a technical copywriter, editor and conference reporter. He has over 30 years’ experience writing on a variety of industrial and high-tech topics.

 

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