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Composites are swiftly becoming the materials of choice in many different industries for both structural and non-structural applications. Huntsman will look at growing demands for faster processing and reduced production cycles, focusing on the role high-performance chemistries are playing in enabling more efficient manufacturing techniques and the increased penetration of composites.
Speeding up production in automotive composites
While aerospace-derived prepreg materials for autoclave cure were regularly used within the racing and high value sectors of the industry, for composites to be cost-effective for the mass production of parts, both the manufacturing processes and resin systems needed to be adapted.
To meet faster processing and shorter production cycle requirements, Huntsman has developed epoxy liquid resin systems for out-of-autoclave processes, such as ‘high pressure’ resin transfer moulding (HP-RTM), which enable production cycles as short as five minutes. Other fast curing epoxy systems, such as expandable epoxy systems (EES), are also available for wet compression moulding. Involving moderate costs, EES allows the easy and exact moulding of complicated shapes and extremely short cycle times between 45-60 seconds at 145-160°C.
Offering an extensive range of proven formulated resins for the latest ‘high pressure RTM’ and fast compression moulding systems, Huntsman is able to support the growth of composites in the automotive industry even more effectively than before.
Fast infusion processing for wind blades
The increasing length of wind turbine blades has prompted the more widespread use of advanced composites, which has in turn led to demands for new materials and manufacturing methods.
Huntsman’s Germanischer Lloyd (GL) approved epoxy resin systems offer enhanced mechanical and processing properties that improve product quality, lower (consistent) blade weight, deliver high strength and fatigue properties and enhance impact resistance. The low viscosities of these systems facilitate fast infusion processing and reduced production cycle times.
Araldite® LY 1568 / Aradur 3489 is an example of the latest epoxy resin infusion system which provides more control in the manufacturing process with a low mix viscosity of 200-300mPas at 25°C, low exothermic reaction and long pot life of 850-950 minutes.
Tooling systems for composite moulds
Huntsman offers tooling materials for the construction of high quality, lightweight, heatable composite moulds, which can be used for wet lay-up, resin infusion and high temperature prepreg applications.
Product highlights include:
As well as the infusion systems mentioned above, Huntsman has recently launched a new hot curing epoxy system (RenLam® LY 120 / Ren HY 99) which has primarily been developed for the large-scale tooling and composite production of wind rotor blades and large marine components.
Combining a low viscosity with a long pot life and high temperature resistance (150°C), due to its excellent handling behaviour this system is suitable for various production processes.
Huntsman’s expertise spans the three main structural adhesive categories; including epoxy, polyurethane and methylmethacrylate-based adhesives.
Recent developments in this area have concentrated on the market for high-end applications and new solutions for composite to composite bonding and for bonding composites to other substrates.
Araldite® AW 4858 / Hardener HW 4858 and Araldite® AW 4859 / Hardener HW 4859 are the latest high-strength composite bonders to be added to the Huntsman range. Offering similar properties, Araldite® AW 4859 / Hardener HW 4859 has the added benefit of being suited to high temperature environments.
Laying the foundations
Huntsman is also leveraging its core strengths in synthesis and formulation to introduce new and innovative high performance materials to its range of building blocks in the drive to enable market differentiation for formulators, focused on delivering mechanical and thermal performance improvements in the areas of composites and adhesives.
Highlights include di-tri-tetra functional epoxies which provide formulators with a full set of building blocks for formulated composite and adhesive systems to improve thermal, mechanical and processing properties as well as tougheners and flexibilizers, epoxy hardeners and benzoxazine resins.
More information: www.huntsman.com/advanced_materials