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Huntsman opens up new composites design freedoms at JEC Europe 2014

News International-French

15 Jan 2014

At JEC Europe 2014 Huntsman Advanced Materials will highlight the significant contribution its high performance chemistries are making as enablers of the latest innovative composites concepts.

Projects including structural composites parts on the BMW i, composite bonders on a prototype racing vehicle’s rear spoiler and and prepreg components on a Richard Mille luxury watch, illustrate the spectrum of applications that will form the main areas of attention during the show.

Mass production in automotive manufacturing
In high-volume automotive manufacturing, epoxy composites are used for structural applications on luxury brands and are now ready for the mass production of vehicle parts.

Huntsman continues to meet demands for faster processing and reduced composites production cycles with the development of epoxy resin systems for High Pressure Resin Transfer Molding (HP-RTM) and compression molding.

Where HP-RTM is preferable for the efficient production of highly complex parts, compression molding facilitates much faster production but is restricted to low complexity parts.

Huntsman is the first supplier to have produced epoxy resin systems that are qualified for the mass production of structural parts.  Including preform set, injection, curing and demolding, the latest system - Araldite LY 3585 / Aradur 3475 - allows parts production in five and three minutes respectively in HP-RTM and compression molding, exhibiting a one minute latency at 110°C. For HP-RTM, this equates to a 30% time saving when compared with first generation HP-RTM. Aided by computer simulation capabilities which speed-up ideal processing parameters identification, within its state-of-the-art laboratories in Basel the company develops fast and flexible epoxy systems designed with superior properties to meet the automotive sector’s demands for continuous improvements.

During the show, resin systems for HP-RTM that produce high levels of targeted performance on vehicle wheel rims will also be showcased.

Huntsman’s materials have been used by leading premium brands such as the Mercedes SLR, BMW Z1 as well as a Lamborghini monocoque chassis and projects for McLaren.

In its latest project, Huntsman has helped BMW to produce structural composites parts in volume production on the recently launched BMW i.

Huntsman’s Technical Support Applications & Processes Team Leader, Stephan Costantino, will give a presentation at the show on ‘Fast and cost efficient solutions for automotive mass production’, during which Araldite resin systems for compression molding and HP-RTM will be highlighted as new developments enabling very short cure cycle times.

A preferable alternative for aerostructure interiors
Araldite FST 40002 / 40003, Huntsman’s entirely new, high-performance RTM and infusion processing solution for interior aerostructures will be a key focus at JEC Europe.

This system uniquely combines inherent FST properties with high quality, user-friendly composites processing methods.

In contrast to other thermoset materials for interiors, Araldite FST 40002 / 40003 is an unfilled system.  Filled systems are processed with open fabric where low fibre content sacrifices composites performance.  With the new unfilled Araldite system, excellent matrix mechanical properties and high fibre volume capabilities enhance performance, meeting the aerospace industry’s requirements for further weight savings.

In undergoing a polyaddition reaction without gas release, this Araldite system delivers significant weight reduction, improved composites quality, elimination of intensive part production post-operations as well as a cleaner and healthier manufacturing solution for operators, supporting closed mold processes and VOC emissions-free system exposure.

It also meets FAR 25.853 vertical burn, smoke and toxicity specifications for both carbon and glass fibre in all thickness configurations.

High strength without compromise
Offering a low weight answer to today’s engineering issues, structural adhesives facilitate the high strength and stiffness on a variety of substrates, lowering stresses, enhancing chemical and temperature resistance and optimising manufacturing methods.

Focusing on strength and durability for wide ranging industrial applications and multiple materials, during the show the benefits of a new methacrylate adhesive – Araldite 2048 – will be showcased.

Exhibiting some of the highest lap shear strengths available (24 MPa on aluminium) and high elongation, this Araldite adhesive is ideal for dynamic loading. It also offers good chemical resistance, low ionic content, ease of application and extremely high impact resistance and elasticity at subfreezing temperatures.

Araldite 2048 has been used alongside the epoxy adhesive Araldite 2031 on the rear spoiler of a prototype sports car, which will be on display. Showing how Araldite 2031 effectively bonds composites together and to aluminium, the application will also demonstrate Araldite 2048’s capabilities in bonding aluminiums without surface preparation.

Optimising formulations
With its high performance building blocks for composites and adhesive formulations, maintaining and increasing thermal resistance whilst providing additional performance benefits remains a key focus for Huntsman.

Tri-functional, TGHPM type epoxy resin Tactix 742 for example, provides a higher glass transition temperature resistance than any other epoxy resins with which it’s fully compatible.  It can also be processed easily into prepreg formulations designed for high temperature applications. Similarly, Araldite MY 0816 can be a component of choice to increase toughness without sacrificing on thermal resistance.

For many composite and adhesive applications where heat resistance has become a key target, Huntsman emphasises the importance of keeping full control of a system’s curing kinetics without compromising any processing capabilities or final properties.

Huntsman will highlight curative solutions for snap-cure type behaviour.  For example, Aradur 1167, a latent accelerator recommended for dicy-based adhesives and composites applications, shows outstanding latency up to 80°C and similar reactivity as a urea accelerator at 120°C and above.

With a track record spanning over 20 years and as an early pioneer in its field, Huntsman continues to leverage its core competencies in synthesis and formulation to develop materials that meet the evolving needs of the market for structural composites.

As its latest materials and involvement in industry-leading projects shows, composite structures can now be produced at a speed, cost and quality that facilitates mass production and commercial viability.