CAMX Connection – May 15, 2018

Wind blade repair strategies

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As wind turbines and wind farms proliferate, so does the need for repair, particularly of composite blades that suffer damage from lightning, erosion, impacts and fatigue. In order to minimize turbine downtime, damage detection must be fast and accurate. New technologies are proliferating to make this possible. More.

Composites and Advanced Materials Boost U.S. Armed Forces

In many markets, the composites and advanced materials industry has a long way to go before reaching mainstream adoption. Cost barriers, awareness and acceptance are big barriers for businesses looking to expand their customer base. However, one group of end users that does not need convincing is the U.S. military. For decades, composites have been used for everything from fighter jets and naval vessels to body armor and drones. And if developments from the past few months are indication, applications of military grade composites are scaling up and becoming more creative. Read on to learn more about these developments and other innovative products and materials that will be on display in the CAMX Exhibit Hall this year. Read More.

One of the world’s leaders in composites research is the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL/RX), which celebrated its 100th anniversary last December shortly before CAMX 2017. According to Dr. John D. Russell, technical director of the Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies Division at AFRL/RX, the division is also starting to look at how to merge additive manufacturing with composites. Specifically, Russell says, his team is looking at thermosets, as opposed to the wide range of thermoplastics currently used in military aircraft. Other projects AFRL/RX is working on include looking at adding antennas in composites or embedding some kind of health monitoring system in composites.

“We’re still a long way off, but the more you can integrate into the structure, the better aerodynamic lines for your airplane,” Russell said.

The division is also currently exploring the use of composites for a new class of unmanned airplanes, known as Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT), which could be less expensive than traditional manned aircraft while still meeting capability requirements.

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is also focused on autonomous technology that incorporates composites. Earlier this year, “Sea Hunter” – the world’s largest unmanned ship – completed its first phase of testing and was officially transferred to the U.S. Navy for further development. While advanced software, hardware and three radar systems are key to the Sea Hunter’s navigation system, composites are the backbone of the vessel, allowing it to absorb high amounts of stress while remaining incredibly sturdy. According to Scott Littlefield, the program manager of DARPA’s tactical technology office, the agency looked at both aluminum and composite construction early in the development process. However, composites provided better overall performance and life-cycle costs.

For its part, the U.S. Army is also making strides in composites research. As recently as last month, engineers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the University of Maryland developed a technique that causes a composite material to become stiffer and stronger on-demand when exposed to ultraviolet light. This on-demand control of composite behavior could enable a variety of new capabilities for future Army rotorcraft design, performance and maintenance.

The technique consists of attaching ultraviolet light reactive molecules to reinforcing agents like carbon nanotubes, which are embedded in a polymer. Upon exposure to UV light, a chemical reaction occurs between the reinforcing agents and the polymer that makes the material stiffer and stronger.

The Army is also working on technology for soldiers that incorporates carbon fiber composites. Earlier this spring, ARL announced that a unique technology to improve soldier shooting accuracy and reduce fatigue has advanced to the next testing phase. Using a mechanical apparatus, the composite-intensive device helps redistribute some of the burden soldiers carry in their arms and shoulders to their abdomen. Engineers at the Army Research Lab have been developing a mechanical “third arm” that attaches to a user’s back hip.

The innovative products and materials that make military applications like these possible will be on display in the CAMX Exhibit Hall this year. The latest military research will be also be on display during CAMX through technical papers and poster sessions. Don’t miss out! Registration is now open, so register today.

Attendee Registration Opens This Month for CAMX 2018

CAMX connects and advances the world’s composites and advanced materials communities. Regardless of application — transportation, aerospace, marine, wind, energy, software, construction and infrastructure, medical, academic, or sports and leisure — if you are looking to learn more about the latest advancements or see the newest product developments in your industry, you should register for CAMX this October in Dallas, TX.

CAMX 2018 will present new products and processes from 550+ exhibitors; more than 100 timely topics, research and discussions from leading industry experts; and networking events with 8,000 attendees. Experience the largest composites expo in North America. Register today!

Double the Exposure of Your Brand When You Exhibit at CAMX

CAMX 2018 is co-locating with Industrial Fabrics Association International for the first time! Companies looking to present their products and services to potential customers can reach almost 15,000 industry professionals simply by reserving a booth for this year’s event. While the exhibit hall is booking quickly, space is still available. Don’t delay securing your company’s prime location for this expanded audience at CAMX 2018. Contact Lynn Ishman or Efren Pavon today to discuss your booth space.

CAMX and ACE Award Entry Deadlines June 15

Both the CAMX Award and the Awards for Composites Excellence (ACE), a prestigious composites industry competition, recognize the innovation, research and breakthroughs happening in our industry, and they are showcased during CAMX 2018. Members and non-members of ACMA AND SAMPE are eligible to submit entries. The deadline is June 15. Learn more or view past submissions here.

Students & Universities: Showcase Your Research

CAMX encourages undergraduate students, graduate students, researchers, engineers and industry professionals to submit their work for a 2018 poster session. Each year, CAMX presents poster sessions, which highlight the work of your company or school, help you gain professional visibility as a subject matter expert, establish industry relationships, and, most importantly, inspire innovation and collaboration. Submissions can relate to any segment in the industry. Poster entry deadline is September 7. All entries will be judged and considered for an award.

Reminder: For anyone who submitted and received approval of their technical abstract for presentation at CAMX 2018, final technical papers are due no later than May 18.