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2K-C

2K Compression

2K-I

2K Injection

3D

Three-Dimensional

3D printing 

3D printing, a form of additive manufacturing, refers to processes used to synthesise a three-dimensional object in which successive layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object.

A

ACM

Advanced Composite Materials

ADMP

Automated Dry Material Placement

AFP

Automated fibre placement is a process that automatically places multiple individual prepreg tows onto a mandrel at high speed, using a numerically controlled, articulating robotic placement head to dispense, clamp, cut and restart as many as 32 tows simultaneously.

AFRP

Aramid Fibre Reinforced Polymer

AGRC

Advanced Glass Reinforced Concrete

ASTM 

One of the largest voluntary standards development organisations in the world, originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

ATCs

Advanced Thermoplastic Composites

ATH

Alumina trihydrate / aluminum trihydrate: A widely-used flame retardant additive for polymers.

ATL

Similar to automated fibre placement (AFP), Automated Tape Laying (ATL) is an even speedier automated process in which prepreg tape, rather than single tows, is laid down continuously to form parts.

Acrylic resin 

Acrylic resins are thermoplastics and feature excellent transparency and durability.

Additive manufacturing 

Processes in which objects are created by adding material (as opposed to removing material). Also see 3D printing.

Aramid fibre 

Aramid fibres are a class of heat-resistant and strong synthetic fibres. They are often used in aerospace and military applications for ballistic-rated body armour fabric and ballistic composites.

Autoclave moulding process

The laid-up part is vacuum bagged and consolidated under vacuum, and then cured in an autoclave (pressurised oven).

Automation

Industrial automation is the control of industrial machinery and whole industrial processes through the use of tailored equipment and software. Such automation ensures a continuous, smooth and efficient running of machines and processes while reducing the need for human intervention.

B

BFRP

Basalt Fiber Reinforced Polymer

BIM

Bladder Inflation Moulding

BMC

Bulk moulding compound: A ready-to-mould glass fibre reinforced thermoset polymer material primarily used in compression moulding, as well as in injection moulding. Semi-products composed of a mix of resins reinforced with chopped fibres, injected under high pressure and at high speeds.

BMI

Bismaleimide

Basalt fibre 

Basalt fibre is a material made from extremely fine fibres of basalt, which are drawn from molten basalt rock. It has better mechanical properties than glass fibre, but is cheaper than carbon fibre.

Bio-based material

Material fully or partially derived from biomass.

Bio-based product 

A product wholly or partially derived from biomass.

Biodegradable

A material is considered 'biodegradable' if it can be decomposed by microorganisms such as bacteria, fungus, algae, earthworms, etc. As a result, water (H20), carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or methane (CH4), and by-products (residue, new biomass) form, which are non-toxic for the environment.

Biomass

Material of biological origin, excluding material embedded in geological formations and/or fossilized. Terrestrial vegetation, algae, animals, microorganisms and biowastes make up or produce biomass. They are directly or indirectly derived from photosynthesis and are renewable.

Bioplastic

Bioplastics are materials that are either bio-based, biodegradable, or both.

Biopolymers

Natural polymers derived from renewable plant or animal resources. They may be directly synthesised by plants or animals as in the case of polysaccharides (starch, cellulose, chitosan, etc.), proteins (collagen, gelatine, casein, etc.) and lignins, or synthesised from biological resources such as vegetable oils (rapeseed, soy, sunflower, etc.). Other biopolymers, like PHA, are produced by microorganisms (bacteria) through the fermentation of sugars and starch.

Biowastes

Biowastes are the organic wastes derived from plant or animal natural resources. Household biowastes include kitchen waste (vegetable peelings and other food scraps) and green waste from the garden (hedge clippings, lawn trimmings, dead leaves, etc.).

Braiding process

A textile process that involves the counter-rotation of multiple fibrous yarns around a circular frame to intertwine the yarns into a braided fabric.

C

CAD/CAM

Computer-aided design/computer aided manufacturing

CCV

Composite Concept Vehicle

CF (Carbon Fibre)

Carbon Fibre

CF (Chopped Fibres (carbon))

Chopped Fibres (carbon)

CFD

Computational Fluid Dynamics (simulations)

CFM

Composite Flow Moulding

CFRP

Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics/Polymer

CFRPs

Continuous Fibre Reinforced Plastics

CFRTP

Continuous Fiber-Reinforced Thermoplastic Composite

CFRW

Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Wood

CFTP

Continuous Fibre Thermoplastic

CLTE

Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion

CNC

Computerized Numerical Control

CNF (Carbon Nanofibres)

Carbon Nanofibres

CNF (Cellulose-based NanoFiber filler material)

Cellulose-based NanoFiber filler material.

CNT

Carbon Nanotube

COE

Coefficient of Expansion

CTE

Coefficient of Thermal Expansion: A measure of how much a material expands on heating.

CVD

Chemical Vapor Deposition

Carbon fibre tow 

The multi-filament continuous strand used to weave carbon fibre fabrics. As a standalone product, it can be used to make wound parts, in pultrusion, or chopped as a local reinforcement.

Carbon fibre 

A high performance reinforcement fibre, with a high strength to weight ratio.

Circular economy

An economic model whose goal is to produce goods and services in a sustainable way, by limiting consumption and wasted resources (raw materials, water, energy) as well as waste generation. The idea is to make a break from linear models (extract, manufacture, consume, discard) and to adopt a 'circular' one where a product’s entire life cycle is integrated, starting with eco-design, through consumption, then to waste management, while limiting wastage at every step.

Closed moulding process 

In closed moulding, materials (fibres and resin) cure inside a two-sided mould or within a vacuum bag (shut off from air). Closed moulding processes include compression moulding, injection moulding and resin transfer moulding.

Composite materials

Composite materials, also widely known to 'composites,' are materials composed of at least two components with significantly different physical or chemical properties that, when combined, form a new material with superior performance and with properties different from the individual components. Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites are the dominant type of composite material.

Compound / compounding

Semi-products derived from plastics, in the form of pellets that are ready for final forming. They may contain fillers (such as talc), reinforcements (such as glass fibre), plastifiers and additives pre-mixed with a polymer. These pellets are melted, extruded or moulded, to manufacture objects. By definition, a compound is thermoplastic and the polymers most frequently used are PP, PE or PA. Compounding, therefore, is producing such compounds.

Compression moulding process

A high volume process that uses SMC that is cut into smaller sheets and the charge pattern (ply schedule) is assembled on a heated mould. The mould is closed and clamped and pressure is applied. As material viscosity drops, the SMC flows to fill the mould cavity. After cure, the part is demoulded manually or by integral ejector pins.

Compression moulding 

Compression moulding is one of the original processing methods for manufacturing plastic parts developed at the very beginning of the plastics industry. Although it is also applicable to thermoplastics, compression moulding is commonly used in manufacturing thermoset plastic parts.

Compression strength 

Defined as the capacity of a material or structure to withstand loads tending to reduce its size i.e. tending to compress it.

Core material

Engineering theory shows that the flexural stiffness of any panel is proportional to the cube of its thickness. The purpose of a core in a composite laminate is therefore to increase the laminate’s stiffness by effectively ‘thickening’ it with a low-density material. This can provide a dramatic increase in stiffness for very little additional weight.

Cure

The toughening or hardening of a polymer material by cross-linking of polymer chains, brought about by heat, chemical additives, etc. Typically, thermoset resins require curing. The curing process has a stong influence on the final properties of the part.

D

D-LFT

Direct Long Fibre Thermoplastics

DDF

Double Diaphragm Forming

DMA

Dimethyl aniline

DMC

Dough Moulding Compound

E

E-LFT

Endless-Fibre Reinforced Long Fibre Thermoplastics

EPS

Expanded Polystyrene

EPU

Expanded Polyurethane

Eco-design

Takes into account environmental aspects throughout the life cycle (from extraction of raw materials up to elimination as waste), starting with the design phase of a product (good or service), in order to improve the environmental performance and ensure that the service rendered is equivalent or superior.

Epoxy resin 

Epoxy resins are thermosetting resins widely used with carbon fibre to manufacture high performance composite structures with superior mechanical properties.

Extrusion

A thermomechanical manufacturing process by which a compressed material is forced through an opening in the shape of the part to be obtained. A long product or a flat one can therefore be formed, like tubes, profiles, sheets or boards. Production outputs are high.

F

FBGS

Fibre Bragg Grating Sensor

FEA

Finite Element Analysis

FFF

Fused Filament Fabrication

FRC

Fibre-Reinforced Concrete: Concrete which has been reinforced either by the addition of random chopped fibre strands or by some type of continuous strand either as-is or in the form of a textile. Fibres can be of glass, carbon or basalt. 

FRP

Fibre Reinforced Polymer: A polymer matrix blended with certain reinforcing materials, such as fibres. 

FST

Fire (or flame), smoke and toxic fume (or toxicity) (FST) standards are safety standards relating to materials used in the passsenger rail industry.

FVF

Fibre volume fraction, or fibre volume ratio, is the percentage of fibre volume in the entire volume of a FRP composite part. A higher fibre volume fraction usually means higher mechanical properties.

Fabricator 

An individual or company that manufactures polymer based parts via one or more moulding processes. The term fabricator is often used interchangeably with the term moulder although fabrication could imply processes other than moulding alone e.g. assembly, painting.

Fatigue resistance 

Fatigue resistance is the ability of a material to resist weakening caused by repeatedly applied (cyclical) loads.

Filament winding process

Fibre tows are drawn through a liquid resin bath and wound onto a rotating cylindrical mandrel in the desired orientations.This process is often used to manufacture pipes and tanks.

Filler 

Fillers are sometimes added to a composite formulation to reduce cost or improve performance. Typical composite fillers are calcium carbonate and talc.

Foam core 

Among the materials used as core materials in composite sandwich structures, lightweight polymer foam cores are very popular. They can typically be based on PVC, PET or other polymers.

G

GFRP

Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastics

GMT

Glass Mat Thermoplastics

GOR

Grill Opening Reinforcement

GPa

Flexural modulus

GRP

Glass Reinforced Plastics

Glare

Sandwich of glass-fibre/epoxy prepreg material between thin sheets of aluminium

Glass fibre reinforced gypsum 

A composite where the matrix is inorganic gypsum and the reinforcement is glass fibre.

Glass fibre 

The most widely used reinforcement fibre in polymer composite materials.

Glass veil 

A glass fibre-based nonwoven fabric made via a dispersion of chopped glass fibre strands in water and processed on a paper making machine creating a thin flat compact fibre structure. Typically used to improve surface appearance and performance of a composite part.

Gridshell 

A gridshell is initially a flat structure which is then raised into a double-curved shape. The forces transform what were initially square grids into similar parallelograms causing the diagonal lines through the nodes to change and to create a self-supporting structure.

H

HDM

Hifh Modulus Ductile (technology)

HDT

Heat-Distortion Temperature

HM

High Modulus

HMPE

High-Modulus Polyethylene Fibre

HP

High Performance

HPDC

High Pressure Die Casting (process)

HS

High Strength

Hand lay-up (also known as contact moulding)

An open moulding process where fibre reinforcements are placed by hand in a mould and resin is applied with a brush or roller.

Heat conductivity (λ)

Expressed in W/mK or W/m°C, it represents the capacity of a material to slow the loss of heat: the lower the value for heat conductivity, the better heat insulation it will provide.

I

IM (Injection Moulding)

Injection Moulding

IM (Intermediate Modulus)

Intermediate Modulus

IMC

In Mold Coating

Impact strength 

Defined as the ability of a material to absorb shock and impact energy without breaking.

Impregnation (resin impregnation) 

Resin impregnation of the reinforcement is very important as the mechanical properties of the composite will depend on the degree of contact between the resin and all the individual fibres in the strands or tows of reinforcement being used.

Injection

A process that makes use of thermoformable materials (in particular, thermoplastics). The plastic material is softened, injected into the mould, and then cooled.

Injection moulding

Injection moulding is considered one of the most common plastic part manufacturing processes. It can be used for producing parts from both thermoplastic and thermoset polymers. The process usually begins with taking the polymers in the form of pellets or granules and heating them to the molten state. The melt is then injected/forced into a chamber formed by a split-die mould.

K

Knitting

A process that creates multiple loops of yarns, called stitches, in a line or tube to create a textile. It was historically used to produce hosiery like socks and stockings.

L

LCA

Life cycle analysis, or life cycle assessment, is used as a tool to assess the environmental impacts of a product, process or activity throughout its life cycle.

LCP

Liquid-Crystal Polymers

LEL

Lower Explosive Limit which is the level of concentration in percentage by volume in air above which explosion can occur upon ignition in a confined area

LES

Low Styrene Emission

LFI

Long Fiber Injection

LFT

Long Fiber Thermoplastic

LPCM

Low Profile Compression Moulding

LRI

Liquid Resin Infusion

LVDT

Linear Variable Differential Transducer

LWRT

Low-Weight Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites

Laid scrim 

Textile structure in which the weft and warp yarns are linked together by an adhesive.

Laminate 

A laminate is an organised stack of unidirectional (UD) composite plies (unidirectional meaning the plies have a single fibre direction rather than a weave pattern). Laminates provide the basis for theoretical composite properties and related design.

M

MEK

Methyl Ethyl Ketone

MEKP

Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide

MFT

Mouldable Fabric Technology

MIT RTM

Multiple Insert Tooling RTM

MMC

Metal Matrix Composite

MPa

Tensile strength

Matrix 

The matrix is basically a homogeneous and monolithic material in which a fibre system is embedded thereby forming a composite. In FRP composites the matrices are polymers.

Mould, a 

The moulds used for forming composites are key to the process. They are also known as tools and can be made from virtually any material ranging from composite to aluminium or steel.

Mould, to 

To mould is to shape and form an object by the use of a mould.

Moulder 

An individual or company that manufactures polymer based parts via one or more moulding processes. The term moulder is often used interchangeably with the term fabricator.

Moulding process 

A process that produces shaped parts through the use of a mould. The composites industry distinguishes between open mould processes and closed mould processes.

Multiaxial fabric 

Multiaxial reinforcements are fabrics made up of multiple plies (layers) of parallel fibres, each laying in a different orientation or axis - hence the term ‘multiaxial’. These layers are typically stitch-bonded (usually with a polyester thread) to form a fabric. Multiaxial fabrics are sometimes called non-crimp fabrics. Multiaxial fabrics include unidirectional (UD), biaxial, triaxial and quadraxial products.

N

NCF (Non-Crimp Fabrics)

Non-Crimp Fabrics: see Multiaxial fabric.

NDC

Non-Destructive Control

NDE

Non-Destructive Evaluation

NDI

Non-Destructive Inspection

NDT

Non-Destructive Testing

NFC (Natural Fiber Composites)

Natural Fiber Composites

Natural technical fibres

In order to be able to use plant fibres at the industrial level (except in the specific case of cereal straw), it is necessary to extract them from the plant (through defibration) and to prepare them by giving them a shape that is suitable for the needs of specific applications. In this context, they are called natural technical fibres.

Nonwoven fabric 

A textile structure produced by bonding or interlocking of fibres, or both, accomplished by mechanical, chemical, thermal or solvent means and combinations thereof.

O

OEM

Original Equipment Manufacturer: Producer or manufacturer of a complete end product (such as a car engine, cooling unit, or a circuit board) or a sub-assembly (such as a carburettor, compressor, or a chip) used in an end product.

Open moulding process 

In open moulding, materials (resins and fibre reinforcements) are exposed to air as they cure or harden. Open moulding processes include hand lay-up, spray-up, casting, filament winding and pultrusion.

P

PA

Polyamide

PAI

Polyamide-Imide

PAN

Polyacrylonitrile (precursor fibre)

PBT

Polybutylene Terephthalate

PC

Polycarbonate

PEEK

Polyether Etherketone

PEI

Polyetherimide

PEKK

Polyetherketoneketone

PES

Polyethersulphone

PET

Polyethylene Terephthalate

PF

Phenolic

PI fiber

Polyimide fiber

PLA

Polylactide

PNCs

Polymer-Based Nanocomposites

POM

Polyoxymethylene

PPE

Personal Protective Equipment

PPM

Parts per million

PPO

Polyphenylene Oxide

PPS

Polyphenylene Sulphide

PSU

Polyphenylene Sulphone

PVC

Polyvinyl Chloride

Phenolic resin 

Phenolic resins are ideal for high temperature applications where parts must meet fire, smoke and toxic fume (FST) requirements. They have excellent flame retardance, heat and chemical resistance, and electrical non-conductivity characteristics.

Polyester resin 

Polyester resins are one of the most commonly used matrices in the polymer composites industry.

Polymer composites

Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) materials consisting of resins, fibre reinforcements and additives. They usually bring high mechanical properties and light weight to final applications.

Polymer 

A large molecule formed by combining smaller molecules or monomers in a regular pattern. Polymers are one of the most common matrices for composites. There are thermoplastic and thermoset polymers.

Preform 

A pre-shaped three-dimensional agglomeration of fibres designed to fit neatly into a mould. Mainly used in the RTM process to save time in preparing the mould.

Prepreg 

Reinforcement material that has been impregnated with the resin system in a previous process.

Pullwinding

Pullwinding is a form of pultrusion in which the fibres are placed at various angles.

Pultrusion process

A continuous moulding process in which reinforcing fibres or fabric are impregnated with resin by passing through a resin bath and then pulled through a heated die to form a part that is basically a profile. The profile leaving the machine is cut to required lengths by an automated saw. Typical products are structural sections, cable trays, bars and tubes.

R

RCD

Residual Current Device

RFI

Resin Film Infusion

RIM

Resin Injection Molding

RTL

Reinforced Thermoplastic Laminate (process)

RTM

Resin transfer moulding: A closed moulding process in which dry fabric is laid into a two (or more) part mould which is then closed in a heated press. Resin is injected under pressure until the fabric is impregnated and the tool is heated to cure the resin.

Reinforcement 

The key element added to a matrix to provide the required properties of the resulting composite. Reinforcements are usually in the form of fibres which can be short, continuous or as some woven or nonwoven textile form.

Resin infusion 

A process by which vacuum draws resin into a dry fibre laminate in a one sided rigid mould, the other side being made by a plastic film with a seal between the two.

Resin 

Sometimes used interchangeably with the word polymer. Thermoset and thermoplastic resins are used as matrices in FRP composites.

S

S-RIM

Structural-RIM

SCRIMP

Seemann Composites Resin Infusion Molding Process

SI

Sandwich Injection

SMC

Sheet moulding compound : A semi-finished product used in compression moulding processes. SMC is composite sheet material made by sandwiching chopped fibres between two layers of thick resin paste. To form the sheet, the resin paste transfers from a metering device onto a moving film carrier.

SMP

Seamless Modelling Pastes

SRM

Structural Repair Manual

STP

Short Thermoplastic (Fibre)

Scrim 

Woven or nonwoven structure in which the yarns are regularly and widely spaced.

Spray-up process

An open moulding process where resin is fed through a tube and mixed with catalyst in a hand-held spray gun. The fibre (fed from a bobbin) is chopped into the resin stream as it is sprayed onto the mould. This is then left to cure at ambient temperature.

T

TMC

Thick Moulding Compound

TP

Thermoplastic Polymer

TRC

Textile-Reinforced Concrete

TS

Thermoset Resin

Tensile strength 

Defined as the resistance to longitudinal stress or pull.

Tg

Glass-Transition Temperature

Thermoplastic polymer 

A thermoplastic polymer is moulded via the addition of heat and pressure to shape it via a mould. If the resulting part is heated it will re-melt which means that thermoplastics are easier to recycle than thermosets.

Thermoplastic resins

Polymers that turn into liquid when heated and become solid when cooled. They can be repeatedly melted and moulded which makes them very recyclable. Examples include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC), polyethylene (PE), polyether ether ketone (PEEK), and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).

Thermoset polymer 

A thermoset polymer is one where during moulding the polymerisation reaction is irreversible. The resulting part will not respond to heat nor is there any other way to remould the part with those same raw materials.

Thermoset resins

Polymers that become irreversibly hardened upon being cured. Thermosetting resins are usually malleable or liquid prior to curing. Once hardened a thermoset resin cannot be re-melted in order to be reshaped. Examples include polyester, epoxy and vinyl ester resins.

U

UD

Unidirectional

UPR

Unsaturated Polyester Resin

V

VARTM

Vacuum-Assisted Resin Transfer Molding

VE

Vinyl Ester

VEC

Virtual Engineered Composites

VOC

Volatile Organic Compound

Vaccum infusion (VI) process

Dry fabric plies are laid up into the mould and covered with a film, or vacuum bag, sealed at the edges. The fabric is compacted under vacuum pressure as resin is drawn through from a reservoir.

Vacuum bagging 

Vacuum bagging is a technique employed to create mechanical pressure on a laminate during its cure cycle.

Vacuum infusion 

A process that uses vacuum pressure to drive resin into a laminate. Materials are laid dry into the mould and the vacuum is applied before resin is introduced. Once a complete vacuum is achieved, resin is literally sucked into the laminate via carefully placed tubing.

Vinyl ester resins

Vinyl ester resins offer corrosion resistance and durability and are widely used in chemicals processing equipment, boat hulls and other demanding applications The handling characteristics, properties, and even price, of vinyl ester resins generally fall between those of polyester and epoxy resin.

W

Warp 

Lengthwise strands or yarns in a weaving process of a fabric.

Weft 

Strands or yarns that lie and are woven in the cross direction of a fabric.

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