News

SIS StructuralComp FRP Heli-Pad Decking Systems


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The go to choice for remote locations. High strength, light weight and extremely durable in all climate conditions. read more

 

SIS - 2017 Outdoor Design Source


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SIS are pleased to participate again in this years Outdoor Design Source Magazine - The latest edition of ODS is packed with everything needed to specify your next external works project! From planning and design, to water management, hard and soft landscaping, industry information, and more - ODS puts it all at your fingertips. Find SIS on page 254 of the hard copy or at: http://www.outdoordesign.com.au/landscape-supplies/Sustainable-Infrastructure-Systems-Aust.-Pty-Ltd/009679/14518 read more

 

Sustainable Trails Conference 2017 - FRP Walkways


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SIS is proud to sponsor the 2017 Sustainable Trails Conference in Thredbo, NSW from the 1st - 4th May hosted by TRC Tourism. This setting is in Australia's beautiful Snowy Mountains and the conference will explore many topics and hear from many experts on a range of topics including trends in trails use, planning, design and maintenance. Attendees are coming from far and wide including across Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Nepal & Japan. read more

 

NSW Parks & Wildlife - Coastal Boardwalk


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Over the past 4 years SIS has proudly been delivering high quality StructuralComp FRP boardwalk components to NSW Parks & Wildlife Service. The latest installation of 7000 metres of boardwalk forms part of a nature walk designed for humans to interact with the stunning coastal landscape with minimal impact on the world renowned flora and fauna of the region. Due to the remote location and general inaccessibility of the track, the products were delivered to site via multiple helicopter drops along the route. read more

 

SIS StructuralComp - FRP Beach Access Systems


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Works have recently been completed on the first of two SIS StructuralComp FRP beach access structures for the City of Charles Sturt in metropolitan Adelaide, Australia. The first structure is now open for public use on the corner of Henley Beach Road and the Esplanade. SIS worked with Council from inception and carried out design, engineering and material manufacture to suit all stakeholders requirements. The dynamic design of this structure removes the somewhat utilitarian aesthetics of comparable FRP and timber offerings and presents a smooth, safe, flowing and attractive asset for those who use it for decades to come. read more

 

Project Review: FRP & WPC Viewing Platform


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Back in 2010, our National Structures team was engaged by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (SA) to design and install a viewing platform on Kangaroo Island. This structure had demanding requirements - a global tourist attraction and a very unique spectacle - the daily ritual of feeding local pelicans. Given the iconic characteristics, the department required materials with unbeatable performance. Our structures team designed a platform with an FRP substructure and WPC platform surface. A virtually maintenance free viewing platform that will last a life time in the harsh marine environment of Southern Australia. read more

 

Composite Boardwalk & Bridges - NSW Parks & Wildlife, Hartley Historic Village


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SIS has recently completed the design & construct of a SISCo-FC composite boardwalk and bridge structure for the Office of Environment & Heritage, NSW Parks & Wildlife. Named 'The River Walk', the boardwalk is 200 meters in length and follows along the bank of the River Lett at the Hartley Historic Site, near Lithgow in Australia's stunning Blue Mountains. It is constructed from a combination of recycled wood plastic composite material, that allowed 16,800 kilograms of waste to be diverted from landfill along with high performance StructuralComp FRP. This state of the art material combination means that the boardwalk is mostly maintenance free and has a life expectancy beyond 70 years. The boardwalk is managed by the National Parks & Wildlife Service of NSW. read more

 

Outdoor Design Source 2016 - The Essential Resource for Specifiers of External Works


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The latest edition of ODS is packed with everything needed to specify your next external works project! From planning and design, to water management, hard and soft landscaping, industry information, and more - ODS puts it all at your fingertips. Find SIS on page 299 of the hard copy or at: http://www.outdoordesign.com.au/landscape-supplies/Sustainable-Infrastructure-Systems-Aust.-Pty-Ltd/009679/14518 online. read more

 

SIS StructuralComp FRP Infrastructure Solutions


0 comments | 28th Jul 2017

Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (SIS) specialises in the development and manufacture of high quality sustainable products. Our specialty in FRP infrastructure solutions makes SIS the first choice for civil infrastructure constructed from the world’s leading sustainable materials. SIS draws on a wide range of experience providing innovative and cost-effective infrastructure solutions, regardless of the size or complexity of our client’s projects. read more

 

Composite Cycleway / Shared Path Bridge - Brisbane City Council


0 comments | 30th May 2016

The Brisbane City Council in Queensland Australia required a modern cycleway / shared path bridge manufactured with modern materials. In conjunction with BAC Technology of Toowoomba, Queensland, SIS manufactured a composite bridge including StructuralComp FRP substructure, to produce this stunning result. read more

 

Hybrid FRP & WPC Cantilevered Boat Deck - Adelaide City Council


0 comments | | 30th May 2016

The Adelaide City Council in South Australia required a replacement boat deck for a decades old timber structure used by Prince Alfred College and Seymour College rowing clubs on the River Torrens in central Adelaide. Given bedrock was as far as 67m under ground level, driven piles were not an option and SIS were required to design a highly engineered cantilevered structure to suit the application. Council also required that high performance materials were used with no maintenance requirements. To fulfil this brief, SIS designers used an innovative mixture of our StructuralComp FRP and WPC products for a structure that would serve council and stakeholder needs for decades to come. read more

 

SISCo-FC Composite Fixings for Aquaculture Applications


0 comments | | | 30th May 2016

Aquaculture, the farming of aquatic animals, is the fastest growing animal food-producing sector. SISCo-FC Composite Fixings made in the USA are ultra high performance plastics that are now entering vast and untapped markets and applications in regions around the world including ASIA, the Middle East and Australia. For a component replacement for steel that will not corrode in Aquaculture farms and marina / floating dock systems, to ultra light weight components for Sikorsky helicopters & satellites. SISCo-FC Composite Fixings are the answer to problems found when using traditional alternatives. read more

 

Henley Square Redevelopment - Adelaide Foreshore - StructuralComp FRP


0 comments | | | | 30th May 2016

HENLEY Square’s $8.4 million makeover is nearly complete - The Charles Sturt City Council (SA) expects all works to be completed during November 2015. The upgrade - designed by Taylor, Cullity, Lethlean (TCL) landscape architects (SA) includes SIS StructuralComp FRP products in the crucial sub-frame areas that would usually consist of traditional materials that would crack, rot and splinter on the ocean front environment. SIS StructuralComp FRP products allow all stakeholders to be confident of a 100 year lifespan with zero maintenance requirements. ‪#‎FRP

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QLD Government - Moreton Bay Marine Park - StructuralComp FRP Signs


0 comments | | | | | 30th May 2016

Demonstrating the extremely versatile applications for SIS' StructuralComp FRP products, we have undertaken testing of our Round Hollow StructuralComp FRP range as sign posts for the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of National Parks, Sports & Racing - Moreton Bay Marine Park. The StructuralComp FRP posts have been in use throughout the harsh environment of the coastal marine park for three years now and have proven extremely durable. We are about to complete another stage in the park signage upgrade program with our StructuralComp FRP products. The posts have also proven very popular with saltwater oyster farms around South Australia's coast line.     read more

 

Cairns Regional Council - Pedestrian Bridge


0 comments | | | | | | 30th May 2016

The Cairns Regional Council, located in far north Queensland, Australia has recently installed one of two new shared path pedestrian bridges as part of a cycleway development. Council have recognised the need for high strength, lightweight and extremely durable materials to withstand the harsh climate of Australia's far north. SIS were contacted to supply our StructuralComp FRP components to work within the steel superstructure. read more

 

Sutherland Leisure Centre - FRP Ceiling Replacement


0 comments | 19th Jan 2017

SIS has recently completed a ceiling refurbishment in partnership with Bermagui Constructions in NSW. The Sutherland Leisure Centre in NSW, Australia has undertaken a general centre renovation that included the ceiling above the main pool. SIS was called upon by the architect to propose an alternative to steel that would not require painting so as to minimise future maintenance requirements. SIS technicians were able to colour match our FRP product to the exact colour specification of a Dulux Shimmer Quarter - a colour similar to light blue. read more

 

City of Melbourne's Yarra Footbridge - SIS FRP Remediation


0 comments | 29th Mar 2016

Project works were completed during June on the City of Melbourne's Yarra footbridge that connects Flinders Street Station to Southbank at the Southgate & Langham Hotel complex in Victoria, Australia. SIS have custom designed and fabricated an FRP substructure and decking system that has allowed for hidden fixings, best achievable Australian standard slip rating and loading capability along with a water runoff system and very pleasant aesthetics. Contact us if you would to receive a case study on this project or would like further information. read more

 

FRP Wave Attenuation System


0 comments | 21th Apr 2016

SIS has recently completed a project in conjunction with Engineered Water Systems of Perth, Western Australia. A wave attenuation system was constructed using SIS FRP components due to their high strength and non corrosive nature. This is an extremely effective and durable system designed for the mitigation of wave energy where permanent type breakwaters are not acceptable or cost effective. Waves, and wakes formed from passing boat traffic, can violently rock harboured crafts making it difficult for their owners to enjoy them while in port. read more

 

Bass Coast Shire Boardwalk


0 comments | | 21th Apr 2016

SIS has recently completed a recycled wood plastic composite (WPC) boardwalk for the Bass Coast Shire Council, Phillip Island, Victoria. In Conjunction with GHD Engineers and ADA Construction Services, the completed structure has used nearly 30,000 kg's of post consumer plastic and timber waste and diverted it from landfill. A full set of project photographs can be found at the following link: http://goo.gl/JxrJTm

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WPC to clad the new Australian Embassy in Jakarta


0 comments | 29th Jan 2017

Back in early 2009, our Offshore Product Manager, Mr. Nick Wotton began collaborating with global architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall on a timber alternative recycled wood plastic composite (WPC) profile to clad the new Australian Embassy in Jakarta. After five years through design to construct, the new embassy is nearing completion and the cladding product developed by Nick is soon to be installed on the project providing the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) a sustainable and maintenance free product made to suit the equatorial climate of Indonesia. read more

 

A Landmark Composite Pedestrian Bridge


0 comments | 21th Jan 2017

A new pedestrian bridge over Rhyl Harbour in North Wales consists of two 30 m long composite lifting decks. This is the story of its design and installation.   FRP composite bridges – a brief history   Bridges have traditionally been manufactured mainly from steel or concrete and alternative materials are rarely considered. However, the last 15 to 20 years has seen an increasing use of fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites in bridge construction.   Initial applications in Europe were limited to pedestrian and cycle bridges and there are now hundreds in service. In the USA composite decks and occasionally beams are increasingly used for both pedestrian and road bridge construction, but 100% composite structures are still rare.   Advantages of composite bridges Reduced mass (typically 2 tonnes for a 12 m pedestrian bridge):

  • smaller cranes required for installation;
  • smaller foundations require less subterranean excavation and disruption;
  • easier to manufacture offsite in fewer parts;
  • quicker to install, minimising possession times.
  Increased durability:  
  • 100 year design life is now common;
  •  resists atmospheric corrosion;
  •  resistant to most chemicals, fuels, de-icing salts, etc.;
  •  paint systems don’t degrade due to corrosion of the substrate.
  •  greater freedom of form;
  More sustainable:
  • lower embodied energy;
  • less fuel used for transportation.
Electrically insulating:
  • desirable for some applications.
Composite bridges offer a number of significant advantages over those manufactured from metal or concrete (see box). In the UK, 100% FRP composite bridges are still few in number and they have yet to appear as mainstream structures. The majority of applications involve the use of composite materials for decks and balustrade systems manufactured using the pultrusion process alongside steel or concrete primary structural elements, or for strengthening of existing steel or concrete structures. This slow take-up of the technology is the result of a number of reasons:
  • lack of relevant design codes;
  • lack of structural engineers experienced using FRP materials;
  • lack of general knowledge on the properties of FRP materials;
  • lack of reliable materials properties data.
  Many universities have been slow to add a significant composites element to their materials and engineering modules and this has inhibited the growth of application of composite materials in the construction industry. However, with the development and introduction of relevant design codes such as the new Eurocodes, and work undertaken by NGCC (Network Group for Composites in Construction), Composites UK and other specialist trade associations, the number of applications has begun to grow.   In the UK, both the Highways Agency and Network Rail have experimented with FRP bridges. The Asset West Mill road bridge completed in 2002 was the first 100% FRP UK road bridge, and Network Rail have now completed three all-composite pedestrian bridges, each using a different method of construction.   The first bridge was installed in St Austell and constructed using a series of pultrusions and moulded fairings. The Bradkirk Bridge, located near Blackpool, was manufactured by composites company AM Structures in 2009 and is the only moulded bridge of the three. The third bridge is installed at Dawlish station and is constructed using pultrusions, sandwich panels and moulded stairways.   The moulding process offers a number of advantages:
  • it allows far greater freedom of form for the architect;
  • it results in a more efficient structure and use of materials, and thus lower weight;
  • it results in a structure with fewer, or no joins leading to greater reliability and less installation cost.
  However, a moulded bridge can require a greater level of engineering skill due to a more complex geometry. The Rhyl Harbour Lifting Bridge is one such bridge.   Innovation in design – a landmark structure In response to a tender call from Denbighshire County Council for a new lifting bridge over Rhyl Harbour in North Wales, engineering and design consultancy Ramboll and civil engineering and building company Dawnus developed a design proposal consisting of two mirroring 30 m long decks which are hinged on a central caisson and lifted by cables running up to a central mast.   Almost 50 m tall, the mast is stayed by rigging similar to a sailboat’s and makes the bridge and the harbour visible from miles around. The pulley mechanism and lifting cables are located within the central mast. To balance the lift the mirroring decks are lifted simultaneously.   The mast is structural up to the lower spreaders and purely architectural above. It is fabricated from duplex stainless steel.   The new bridge serves as an additional crossing for pedestrians and cyclists, spanning the River Clwyd from Rhyl’s West Parade to a newly created public area on the Kinmel Bay side of the river. The elegantly designed opening lightweight bridge has already become an iconic landmark attracting many visitors to the area.   Lightweight and sculptured deck geometry Denbighshire County Council was interested in minimising the use of energy for each lifting operation. To give access to moorings upstream of the bridge, the new pedestrian and cycle crossing is likely to be opened several times a day and Denbighshire County Council was interested in minimising the use of energy for each lifting operation. The use of moulded structural FRP composite materials for the bridge decks became an integral part of the design concept to save as much weight as possible to reduce lifting time and reduce power consumption. It also allowed a more sculptured deck shape, which provides a striking, iconic sight when the bridge is opened.   Ramboll approached AM Structures in early 2009 to review the concept of the bridge span construction and to provide feedback on the manufacturing process and weight estimate. AM Structures worked with structural engineering and composite materials specialist Gurit to review the structure of the bridge, and an initial study confirmed that the bridge concept was feasible with some minor changes to the underside geometry, and that the FRP decks would result in considerable weight savings compared with a steel structure.   The updated design proved to be successful and AM Structures was awarded a design and build contract by Dawnus for the fabrication of the two bridge spans.   Thorough analysis of dynamic behaviour Having worked with Gurit previously on the Bradkirk Bridge and many other high profile structures, AM Structures contracted them to carry out the detailed structural engineering of the bridge decks.   These presented some interesting challenges. The decks are very slender, partially for aesthetic reasons, but also to ensure that the inshore lifeboat would have sufficient headroom to pass under the lowered bridge at all tide levels. Due to the complex geometry, lightweight and slender design of the decks, detailed consideration of the dynamic behaviour of the bridge under pedestrian loading was required.   The bridge was designed with predominantly glass reinforcements with longitudinal stiffness enhanced by local planks of carbon fibre. The internal structure comprised a series of transverse bulkheads and longitudinal beams laid into a sculpted structural shell. The decks were manufactured in typical sandwich form and topped off with a proprietary non-slip wear layer. Balustrade mounting brackets were invisibly bolted to the internal transverse bulkheads.   Gurit made extensive use of finite element analysis (FEA) to carry out transient dynamic analysis of the bridge using load models from Eurocodes. A number of load conditions were analysed, corresponding to groups of pedestrians walking and running over the bridge, in addition to a crowd loading case. This analysis led to optimisation of the laminates for both longitudinal and torsional stiffness of the bridge decks to meet the required comfort criteria.   Quality control of manufacture Using the client’s geometry 3D file direct mould tooling was manufactured from CNC machined expanded polystyrene foam which was skinned with an epoxy laminate and then faired and finished to achieve the high quality finish that was required.   AM Structures built the bridge using Gurit’s Corecell™ M-Foam (a structural foam core material based on a SAN polymer base), Ampreg 21 epoxy resin and a mixture of glass and carbon reinforcements. QE1200 woven glass multiaxial was used for most of the structure providing a low reinforcements cost per kg. The fabric was wet out using a machine in order to reduce labour costs and better control the fibre volume fraction of the finished laminates. Woven glass biaxial (typically XE900) was used for over-taping and reinforcing joints within the bridge structure. Carbon planks were incorporated into the deck and lower bridge structure to provide longitudinal strength and stiffness and these were laid up from UC800 unidirectional carbon.   The client free-issued various steel fabrications used for hinges and lifting points as well as stainless steel plates used for the mounting of the balustrades. AM Structures incorporated these into pre-prepared apertures in the structure. An alignment jig ensured that the bridge lifting hinge bracketry was perfectly positioned.   AM Structures contracted Wizz Composites to advise on quality assurance requirements, develop the Quality Plan and advise on quality control activities, testing and documentation. Developing a comprehensive Quality Plan at the outset of the project ensured quality control of the finished structure.   Assuring the quality of manufacture of a substantial structure such as a bridge is always a concern of clients and end users who are often unfamiliar with FRP composite materials and their manufacturing processes. For a steel structure, a typical QC regime covers materials properties and certificates, welder qualifications, weld consumables certificates, weld procedure qualifications, non destructive testing of welds and so on, and these procedures are well understood and documented. For a composite structure, materials properties are developed during the manufacturing process as the resin cures within the laminate matrix making the process of confirming the properties of the cured system more complex than simply obtaining a mill certificate from the provider. However, in many other respects the QA process for a composite structure can mirror one for a steel component, helping build client confidence and assuring that the structure behaves in the manner predicted by the structural engineer.   The QA regime for the Rhyl Harbour Bridge was comprehensive and included materials certificates and traceability, batch testing of component parts of the structure including main skins, bulkheads and deck panels. Tests carried out included laminate testing to verify laminate mechanical properties and DMA testing to verify state of cure and accuracy of resin mix ratios.   Within the bridge decks AM Structures provided cut-outs and installed trunking for a series of colour changing LED lights which ensure that the bridge presents a truly spectacular sight when lifted during darkness.   Transport and installation The build of the decks was already a spectacular sight in AM Structure’s Isle of Wight factory and the shipment on the car ferry to the mainland, the onward transportation to Wales and the lifting of the decks into place, all attracted crowds.   More AM Structures projects Several AM Structures projects can be seen around the UK, including Ron Arad’s Big Blue at Canary Wharf, the three Light Wands (masts) at the Birmingham Bullring, the 33 m carbon composite bridge roof structure (which resembles a surfboard) at Langdon Park DLR Station and the Bradkirk Bridge supplied for Network Rail.   AM Structures also supplied the two 26 m feature lighting masts for the Poole Twin Sails Bridge and a number of 35 m Dune Grass flexible spars installed on Blackpool’s Golden Mile. Each bridge span, which resembled the shape of a tuning fork in plan, was split lengthwise to reduce its width for road and ferry transportation. The finished walkway width is 4 m at the widest point, with each small leg being 3 m wide. Each half was preassembled with its mating part in the factory to ensure a perfect fit. Once at site the two halves of each span were bonded together using Gurit’s Spabond 340LV structural adhesive and located with two rows of bolts. Access to the inside of the bridge was achieved via hatches located in the deck surface.   The total weight of one complete span including hinge and balustrade supporting steelwork was 10.6 tonnes. Steelwork added a further 3.2 tonnes to each span. This represented a very considerable weight saving over the concrete or steel alternatives.   By the middle of July 2012, hundreds of people had flocked to Rhyl with their cameras to catch the moments when the 30 m long decks were lifted into place.   The new crossing needed a catchy name and so a naming competition was opened up to pupils at local primary schools. An independent panel considered over 30 names and finally selected “Pont y Ddraig” (The Dragon Bridge), as one student had suggested. The bridge was opened to the public on 22 October, when all pupils who had participated in the naming competition led the first walk across.   Story Credit: Reinforced Plastics Magazine read more

 

NASA satellite on mission to Mars boasts composite components


0 comments | 09th Mar 2014

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. — Plastics are headed back to Mars in the composite structure of the latest NASA satellite to study the planet.   TenCate Advanced Composites NV supplied the carbon fibre composite that is part of the MAVEN — which stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution — project. MAVEN headed into space during a Nov. 18 launch from Cape Canaveral.   MAVEN is specifically designed to collect data from Mars' upper atmosphere, unlike other high profile projects such as the Rover. NASA officials noted in a Nov. 14 news release on the project that Mars once had surface water, but the atmosphere thinned and it lost that water. Scientists speculate that the sun may have played a role in allowing vital gases to escape from the atmosphere, but have not been able to confirm that.   "Mars is a complicated system, just as complicated as earth in its own way," said Bruce Jakosky, the mission's principal investigator. "You can't hope, with a single spacecraft, to study all aspects and learn everything there is to know about it. With MAVEN, we're exploring the single biggest unexplored piece of Mars so far."   MAVEN is a 7.5-feet by 7.5-feet by 6.5-feet cube built out of composite panels made with an aluminium honeycomb core sandwiched between composite face sheets. The entire structure weighs 275 pounds, but was designed to support the entire spacecraft mass during launch.   It is expected to reach Mars' upper atmosphere and begin its mission in September. read more

 

SIS Builds Relationship with Global FRP Leader


0 comments | 19th Jan 2014

Today our Director - Products & Structures Mr Nick Wotton has welcomed to Australia Mr Tom Carlson, Manager - Offshore Markets at Strongwell Corporation Inc (USA). Today marks the beginning of a new global partnership between SIS and Strongwell Corporation.   Strongwell is the world's largest pultrusion company and the recognized leader in the pultrusion industry. Strongwell has pultruded fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite structural products since 1956 and today offers unequaled capacity, versatility and flexibility to meet the needs of its customers and allied partners.   Strongwell has been manufacturing high quality fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) products using “the continuous automatic process” (today known as “pultrusion”). Today, with three manufacturing locations, 65+ pultrusion machines and more than 645,000 square feet of manufacturing space. read more

 

Boeing & Oracle to Recycle Largest ever Carbon Fibre Structure


0 comments | | 19th Jan 2014

Boeing and Oracle Team USA, winners of the 34th America’s Cup, are collaborating to recycle over 3 tonnes of carbon fibre from the USA-71, a yacht built for the America’s Cup campaign in 2003.   The hull and mast of the racing yacht will be processed and repurposed, a first-of-its-kind effort for what will likely be the largest carbon structure ever recycled.   Boeing and the Oracle team, working with research partners, will utilise a technique developed to recycle composite materials from Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, which is 50 percent composite by weight and 20 percent more fuel-efficient than similarly sized aircraft. Composite materials allow a lighter, simpler structure, which increases efficiency, and do not fatigue or corrode. In yachts, composite construction also provides the ability to develop a lighter vessel that is stronger and stiffer at the same time.   Chris Sitzenstock, ORACLE TEAM USA logistics said; 'The introduction of composites in yacht construction was a major step in our sport. The materials and processes have continued to evolve, allowing us to build the high-tech, high-speed AC72 catamarans raced in this year’s America’s Cup, now we have the ability to work with Boeing to take the next steps in composite recycling, and to help reduce our environmental footprint. We will also look to recycle carbon components remaining from the build of our yachts.'   Boeing and Oracle Team USA will work with the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and MIT-RCF, a South Carolina company specialising in repurposing carbon fibre components. In 2006 Boeing began collaborating with the University of Nottingham on carbon fibre recycling and they continue to work on recycling processes and technology to process the recycled fibre into new applications.   USA-71’s hull will be cut into 4-foot sections and the mast will be chopped into manageable pieces before it is processed; about 75 percent of the recycled composites will come from the hull and the remaining 25 percent from the mast.   Boeing and Oracle Team USA expect to gather data about the mechanical properties, costs and time flows to recycle sailing-grade composite materials in comparison to aerospace-grade and automobile-grade composites. Although the companies have not determined the post-recycling use of the yacht’s carbon fibre, potential end uses include consumer and industrial products. read more

 

76m Carbon Fibre Mast Leaves Factory


0 comments | 15th Nov 2014

Future Fibres completes work on 76 metre mast for Perini Navi’s latest superyacht.   Following almost 18 months in design, development and construction, Future Fibres this week shipped its latest carbon fibre mast to Perini Navi’s La Spezia yard in Italy. Destined for the 60 metre sloop C.2218, as she is currently known, the 75.8 metre mast was built and shipped in two sections and will be joined over the next six weeks in the Perini yard. The accompanying Future Fibres furling boom and bespoke composite rigging package will be shipped later this month, with dressing and stepping of the rig due to take place in November.   The brief for project C.2218 focused on achieving the highest levels of performance and meant Future Fibres was able to utilise its extensive Grand Prix experience, incorporating many of the developments identified through its racing clients. However, with Future Fibres’ trade mark, milled aluminium, tooling they have managed to produce a tube with a perfect exterior surface and a flawless 'Clearcote', gloss carbon finish. The result not only looks impressive but with zero filler – which can add up to 3 per cent to the weight of a mast – further reduces unnecessary weight to deliver a mast with both performance and style.   Utilising Future Fibres’ 40 metre dedicated clean-room/oven meant the 23.4 metre furling boom could be manufactured using pre-preg carbon, rather than standard wet-laminate, improving structural performance and again, reducing weight. The boom has been through a detailed design and development process with special attention on the complex systems required for sail furling and handling. The result is a new mandrel furling and locking system which has gone through extensive testing and prototyping.   Tim Meldrum, Chief Designer for the project commented: “Bringing the innovations we’ve developed for the race market to a superyacht of this size certainly represented a challenge. We invested a tremendous amount of time into the design and management of the project to ensure we understood every variable down to the smallest detail and we are very pleased with the outcome. Once launched, C.2218 will have a hugely powerful Doyle Sails sail plan and a complete Future Fibres rigging package. The lateral rigging is solid carbon with a mix of carbon, PBO and Kevlar for the fore and aft cables. The enormous code zero is using the top-down furling technique for improved system safety and the cable required is the longest and most powerful furling cable we have ever produced. We even had to extend our winding bed through the end wall of the factory to build it! That alone is exciting but it’s just a tiny part of what should be an incredible boat and a real challenger on the superyacht race circuit for years to come.”   read more

 

Quickstep’s RST Technology Passes Test


0 comments | 22th Apr 2014

Quickstep is an Australian Company and approved supplier for the international F‐35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program ‐ the largest military aerospace program in the world, valued at in excess of US$300 billion worldwide. To date more than 68 JSF aircraft have been delivered to the US Department of Defence, and this number is now expected to grow rapidly. The company has also been selected by Lockheed Martin as the sole supplier of composite wing flaps for the C‐130J “Hercules” military transport aircraft. Quickstep is currently partnering with some of the world’s largest aerospace/defence organisations, including the US Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Airbus and EADS.   Quickstep is also developing patented manufacturing technologies to produce high‐volume A‐grade finished composite components for automotives and specialist thick parts such as spars and wing skins for large defence and commercial aircraft. The company is currently working with the US Department of Defence to qualify its patented Quickstep Process and Resin Spray Technology (RST) for JSF, and is also conducting a major research and development program with car maker Audi aimed at delivering high‐quality finish, low cost, fast processing of carbon fibre composite, together with specialised resins, particularly adapted to the automotive industry.   Quickstep’s RST technology passes test from luxury car maker:

  • Quickstep’s resin spray transfer (RST) technology meets ‘spectacular finish’ test;
  • Quickstep RST passes European car marque’s rigorous environmental tests;
  • Potential significant commercial market.
Quickstep Holdings Limited - manufacturer of high‐grade carbon fibre composite components, today announced that its resin spray transfer (RST) technology has passed one of the industry’s toughest environmental test regimes for carbon‐fibre composite body panels. Results of these tests, by a prestige European car maker, have confirmed the RST technology’s ability to meet rigorous painted panel benchmarks and enable outstanding finishes. This pre‐qualifies RST technology for consideration in the marque’s commercial supply tenders.   Carbon‐fibre composite technology is increasingly a feature of highly distinctive, contemporary luxury vehicles. However, achieving top‐quality paint finish and keeping that quality over time is much harder using carbon‐fibre than metal.   Passing the stringent painting and surface ageing tests of a European luxury car maker is a feat that very few other composite technologies have achieved and, importantly, Quickstep’s RST process can be delivered at considerably lower expense.   Quickstep’s Managing Director Philippe Odouard said that this was another positive step toward securing commercial entry into the automotive market.   “Luxury cars demand absolutely flawless paint and body work, and these tests by a luxury car maker demonstrate that Quickstep’s resin spray transfer technology can support such results. During tests the car panels, manufactured using Quickstep’s RST, were subjected to hot and cold ageing cycles for weeks and subjected to high humidity and high temperature environments. We are delighted that the RST technology has passed what is considered to be one of the automotive industry’s most exacting ‘quality of finish’ tests.   “We believe that our RST technology can revolutionise car manufacturing across the globe, as it meets the industry’s three key manufacturing objectives ‐ producing strong yet light vehicle parts with fast processing, at low cost and with a high quality finish.   “The technology is drawing increasing interest, and we are progressing negotiations and providing quotes for several leading European car makers.”   The RST technology utilises an innovative ‘robotised’ process that fully automates production of lightweight carbon fibre composite car panels so they can be made in minutes and at very low cost compared to other, more capital‐intensive methods.   Quickstep is working with a number of car makers, particularly in Europe, to qualify and develop the RST process for each marque’s specific requirements. One example is Audi AG which, teamed with Quickstep in a consortium funded by the German government, is developing cost‐effective solutions for high‐volume automotive composite parts production using the RST technology, and component trials are now underway. read more

 

GE Aviation Begin Testing New Composite Fan Blades


0 comments | 04th Dec 2013

GE Aviation has begun testing on its new composite fan blades for the GE9X, the next-generation GE90 engine that will power Boeing’s 777X aircraft. This validation test is the first of several testing programs GE has planned this year for the GE9X fan module.   The first round of fan blade tests occurred in June at the ITP Engine testing facility in the UK and focused on validating the new composite material for the fan blades. GE plans a second round of tests at ITP later this summer to further validate the new fan blade composite material and a new metal material for the blades leading edge.   The GE9X fan blade will feature a new high-strength carbon fibre material with a steel alloy leading edge, the new material, along with a higher fan tip speed, will improve the efficiency of the low-pressure turbine (LPT) and deliver more than 1.5 percent fuel efficiency improvement compared to the GE90-115B engine.   The GE9X fan module incorporates several unique features. The GE9X front fan will be the largest of any GE engine at 132 inches in diameter and include a durable, lightweight composite fan case similar to the fan case on the GEnx. Compared to a metal fan case, the composite fan case will lower the weight by 350 lbs. per engine.   The fan blades in the GE9X engine will be fourth-generation composite fan blades. GE Aviation developed the first composite fan blade for its GE90-94B engines back in 1995. Composite fan blades are also featured in the GE90-115B and GEnx engines. GE has accumulated 36 million flight-hours with composite blades and anticipates accumulating more than 100 million flight-hours when the GE9X enters service later this decade.   The GE9X engine will have 16 fan blades, which is fewer blades than the GEnx and the GE90-115B engines. This fan blade reduction is possible as a result of advancements in three-dimensional (3D) swept design that enables engineers to create a more swept design and large fan chord. The new high-strength carbon fibre material allows the blades to be thinner than blades made from current carbon fibre material, with the same strength and durability. These improvements will drive fuel efficiency improvements and hundreds of pounds of weight reduction from fan blades and the structure needed to support them.   The lower blade count and new carbon fibre composite material will enable the company to increase the fan tip speed. The increased tip speed will improve the efficiency of the LPT, enabling a reduction in the LPT blade count and contributing to the engine’s fuel burn improvement.   The GE9X engine for Boeing’s 777X aircraft will be in the 100,000 pounds thrust class with a 10 percent improvement in fuel burn over today’s GE90-115B. Key features include: a 132″ fan diameter; composite fan case and fourth-generation composite fan blades; next-generation 27:1 pressure ratio high-pressure compressor; a third-generation TAPS (twin annular pre-swirl) combustor for greater efficiency and low emissions; and ceramic matrix composite (CMC) material in the combustor and turbine.   GE Aviation has been conducting tests on new materials and technologies for the engine during the last few years, along with fan blade tests at the ITP Engine testing facility in the United Kingdom, the company will test a high-pressure compressor rig at GE’s Oil & Gas facility in Massa, Italy, this month. The first engine will test in 2016, with flight-testing on GE’s flying testbed anticipated in 2017.   This Autumn, GE plans to run Universal Propulsion Simulator (UPS) fan performance tests on a fan rig at a Boeing facility in Seattle, Washington. Work is already under way on the fan rig and facility for these tests. read more

 

US Army adopts Stronger, Lighter Composite Materials


0 comments | 26th Oct 2013

In the future, Army aircraft may be made of all composite materials, and the Prototype Integration Facility Advanced Composites Laboratory is ready. Part of the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Centre's, or AMRDEC’s, Engineering Directorate, the Prototype Integration Facility’s, PIF’s, Advanced Composites Lab has successfully designed and made repairs on damaged composite aircraft components for several years now. From research and development to implementation and rapid prototyping, advancing composites technology is one of AMRDEC’s core competencies that enable the current and future force. The PIF Advanced Composites Lab is one of several teams at the AMRDEC working with composites, PIF Advanced Composites Lab lead Kimberly Cockrell said; We have gotten as strong and as light as we can get with metals, and we’re at the end of what metals can economically do. The only way to get stronger and lighter and more capable for the fight is to go to composites. The PIF team recognised a need for advanced composites repair and began developing a composites capability within the PIF mission to provide rapid response solutions to the war fighter. The program includes repair design and engineering substantiation to show that repaired components are returned to original strength. Personnel in the Advanced Composites Lab designed and developed repairs for damaged composite stabilisers on the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter and the AH-64E Apache helicopter. Prior to their repair method, the only way to repair an aircraft with a damaged stabiliser was to pull off the broken stabiliser and replace it with a new one. Cockrell said the “pull-and-replace” approach was costing the Army up to six figures per stabiliser replacement. While the first repair procedures were designed for Black Hawk stabilisers, the repair method applies to any solid laminate or sandwich core composite structure, so the procedures and training can be leveraged to other Army aircraft. Cockrell is proud of the lab’s achievements. Its repair procedures are the first approved repair for primary composite structure on Army aircraft. With integral support from the AMRDEC’s Aviation Engineering Directorate, the procedures for the composite stabiliser repairs have been written and are undergoing approval for release by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command, or AMCOM, Logistics Centre. An important aspect of developing repair methods is working with the repair personnel who will make the repairs. Members of the PIF Advanced Composites Lab have been training Soldiers on the new stabiliser repair procedures prior to deployment so that they can request approval to use them, on a case-by-case basis, through the Aviation Engineering Directorate. The lab has also trained the instructors at the 128th Aviation Brigade, as well as the AMCOM logistics assistance representatives. In addition to training, the PIF Advanced Composites Lab, in partnership with the Aviation Engineering Directorate, played a lead role in developing the Army Technical Manual 1-1500-204-23-11 “Advanced Composite Material General Maintenance and Practices,” as well as in defining the tooling and material load for the new AVIM composites shop set. The lab is currently working repairs for blades too, as well as just-in-time tooling for parts with complex curves or topography. And in addition to repair solutions, the lab is using composite materials to create solutions for other issues. For example, it has designed and built a composite doubler to strengthen the hat channels that extend from the hinges of the UH-60 engine cowling. Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo illustration read more

 

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope #FRP


0 comments | 23th Jan 2017

Northrop Grumman and teammate ATK have completed manufacturing of the backplane support frame (BSF) for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Northrop Grumman is under contract to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., for the design and development of the Webb Telescope’s optics, sunshield and spacecraft. When combined with the centre section and wings, the support frame will form the primary mirror backplane support structure, the stable platform that holds the telescope’s beryllium mirrors, instruments and other elements. It holds the 18-segment, 21-foot-diameter primary mirror nearly motionless while the telescope is peering into deep space. The backplane support frame is the backbone of the observatory, is the primary load carrying structure for launch, and holds the science instruments. read more

 

Living in Sustainable Cities of the Future


0 comments | 11th Nov 2013

Masdar City, United Arab Emirates - This gleaming example of sustainable urban living just 17km east of Abu Dhabi is currently more university and business campus than metropolis, but when Masdar City is complete in 2025, it will be home to 40,000 residents and 50,000 commuters. The city’s master plan, designed by the architects Foster + Partners, put roads underground (and bans cars that use petrol), allowing for very narrow pedestrian streets that capture and funnel the breezes, aided and shaded by thick city walls, a technique Arab builders have used for centuries. The city’s modern elements come in the renewable energy and clean tech sources being developed at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, which currently houses 250 students on campus. The city is completely powered by renewable energy sources such as solar, and the buildings are being constructed with recycled materials, including steel and aluminium. Energy and potable water demands have been reduced by more than 50%, using a quarter of the energy of a conventional city the same size. “We are addressing social, economic and environmental sustainability and also making sure it’s affordable,” said Omar Zaafrani, communications manager for Masdar City. The building that houses both the Masdar and International Renewable Energy Agency headquarters will have stores and restaurants in addition to office space, powered by 1,000sqm of photovoltaic panels. While no residential buildings beyond dormitories have been built, they are in the works. “There are various residential plots around the city, and over the coming years they will be tendered out to global architects,” Zaafrani explained. The city’s economic free zone – with zero taxes, import tariffs or restrictions on foreign hires – is set up to specifically attract clean energy and tech companies, clustering them together in incubator office buildings. “The number one target is people who work in Abu Dhabi and around the UAE,” Zaafrani said. “We are trying to make sure as we build up the city, there will be demand for both commercial and residential spaces.” Currently, a four-bedroom villa in central Abu Dhabi rents for around 200,000 dirhams a year, while a two-bedroom flat in Reem Island rents for around 100,000 dirhams. Over the next two years, 45,000 new flats and houses will come available. read more

 

New York to Spend Billions on Climate Resiliency


0 comments | 07th Sep 2013

Nearly eight months after Hurricane Sandy slammed the north-eastern United States, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing a far-reaching $20 billion plan to build flood barriers and "green infrastructure" to protect low-lying areas of Manhattan from future superstorms. Following Sandy, the mayor appointed a task force to assess the city’s vulnerability. In a report released this week based on its recommendations, the mayor cited scientists' predictions that sea levels could rise as much as 31 inches by 2050, accompanied by severe storms and prolonged spells of extreme heat and cold. “Hurricane Sandy made it all too clear that, no matter how far we’ve come, we still face real, immediate threats,” Bloomberg said in a speech at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the same location where IceStone, a Sustainable Industries-profiled company, was nearly wiped out following Sandy (in this case, workers rallied to restore the factory). “Much of the work will extend far beyond the next 200 days -- but we refuse to pass the responsibility for creating a plan onto the next administration. This is urgent work, and it must begin now.” Bloomberg's recommendations are highlighted by "green infrastructure" projects, including supporting renewable and distributed energy generation systems, planting more trees and vegetation on streets and rooftops, upgrading building codes, enhancing natural wetlands, and refurbishing drainage systems to manage runoff. The mayor also  appointed a "director of resilience" named Daniel Zarilli. The plan is heavy on construction of stormwalls and barriers, but Bloomberg suggested these could come in the form of elevated parks and boardwalks. The mayor's report was endorsed by a cadre of business and environmental organizations, including the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy, Real Estate Board of New York, Environmental Defense Fund, Building Resiliency Task Force, The Rockefeller Foundation, NRDC, New York Smart Grid Consortium, the American Institute of Architects New York chapter, and the region's largest energy utility, Con Edision. "These new guidelines place New York City at the forefront of thinking on resiliency relevant for coastal communities around the world," said Christopher Collins, executive director of Solar One. "This continues a series of strategic steps that the Bloomberg administration has taken, including investment in new, sustainable building models, to help create a new paradigm for construction that addresses both the fact of climate change, as well as the need for renewable and sustainable practices." How will New York pay for it all? The city can rely on $10 billion in city capital funding and federal aid, and another $5 billion in U.S. disaster relief, the mayor said. Additional federal funding and capital raised through the sale of municipal bonds would be needed to cover the remaining $4.5 billion, he added. The plan outlines a number of ways to raise the additional billions that would be required for the plan to become a reality. Story credit: www.sustainableindustries.com read more

 

Pelamis P2 Celebrates 1 Yr of Accelerated Real-Sea Testing


0 comments | 01th Sep 2013

The ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) owned Pelamis P2 wave energy converter has this week completed its first year of a robust testing programme at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. The combined P2 test programme has now accumulated 7500 grid connected operating hours, and exported 160MWh of electricity to the national grid. These are encouraging figures for this stage of the testing programme and it is anticipated that generated powers will continue to rise as the programme develops. These P2 operating hours bring the cumulative total for Pelamis technology up to over 10,000 grid connected operating hours, demonstrating both the extensive experience of the Pelamis team and the wealth of learning delivered by the P2 testing programme specifically. Following its first installation in May 2012 alongside the E.ON owned Pelamis P2 machine at the Billia Croo test site, the machine has been undergoing a progressive work-up testing programme, being exposed to increasingly large wave conditions for longer deployment periods. An accelerated form of the work-up programme was made possible thanks to the wealth of learning accumulated since the beginning of the E.ON Pelamis P2 demonstration programme in October 2010, and the resulting confidence of both the customer and Pelamis operation teams in this testing approach. As a result of this accelerated testing strategy, the SPR owned Pelamis P2 wave energy converter was able to generate twice the amount of electricity in half the elapsed calendar time, during its initial test parameters of small to medium seas. In deployments since then, the SPR Pelamis machine has experienced larger seas with significant wave heights of up to 5mHs, including individual waves of over 9m. Electricity generation has increased as anticipated in these larger, more energetic seas. The proven average output capability of the device, over the annual spectrum of wave conditions at the EMEC site, is now close to 100kW. Demonstrations of further improvements are anticipated through control optimisation which could double that number as targeted for the next stage of the project. The machines have now experienced around 90% of sea state occurrences for an average year, allowing the Pelamis team to quantify the performance and electricity output of the P2 machines and gain insight into the factors influencing this. This broad range of data from real sea testing is invaluable for the on-going development of the technology, allowing focused design and innovation for future enhancements of the Pelamis machine. These enhancements are vital to ensure that the costs of generating electricity from wave power continue to fall, in order to become cost competitive with other sources of offshore renewable energy. This is an important direction for Pelamis to take as an industry leader. Announced in February, Pelamis is working on a project commissioned and funded by the Energy Technologies Institute investigating a multitude of opportunities for performance enhancement and rapid reduction in cost of energy. Derrik Robb, Operations Director at Pelamis Wave Power, said: “The results achieved during this testing programme are testament to how far we have progressed, working collaboratively with our customers. The wealth of knowledge and data collected to date has been instrumental in reinforcing our technical understanding of the Pelamis and its control systems and we continue to apply key learning points from one machine to the other, thus reducing time spent addressing first-of-type issues.” Alan Mortimer, Head of Innovation at ScottishPower Renewables, said: “The past year at EMEC has been an invaluable learning experience for SPR, E.ON and Pelamis.  The collaboration has worked well and all parties have benefited from sharing of information, risks and innovation. “The creation of the Operations Team and Health & Safety Systems has been a substantial effort this year and now provides the basis for us to explore the performance potential of the P2 machine.  The output of the device is steadily increasing as experience is gained and as the controller is fine-tuned for maximum energy extraction. We anticipate further significant improvements over the next 12 months, with the remainder of the test plan focused on optimising the power produced in the full range of sea-states in order to progress the technology towards commercially-viable status.” Pelamis’ patented ‘plug & play’ system for the safe and rapid installation and removal of the machines in water has proved its strength and allowed for the towing and installation to be routinely conducted in wave heights of up to 2.5 metres as well as in darkness. This unique feature of the Pelamis P2 machine greatly expands the opportunities for operations and safe intervention, as it allows for flexible, round-the-clock operations, which is particularly important in the waters to the north of Scotland and over the winter months. The two Pelamis machines have been deployed in tandem during winter. read more

 

1st Grid-Connected Offshore Wind Turbine USA


0 comments | 22th Jan 2017

University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center and partners to Launch first offshore wind turbine in North America May 31. Orono, Maine —The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center and its partners will hold a launch celebration Friday, May 31 at 11 a.m. for VolturnUS 1:8, the first grid connected offshore wind turbine to be deployed off the coast of North America. The event will be hosted by Cianbro, 517 South Main Street, Brewer, Maine. Honoured guests will include members of Maine’s Congressional delegation, the Director of Maine’s Office of Energy, representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, Cianbro CEO Peter Vigue, and business and civic leaders. The highlight of the event will be a traditional launch of the vessel by Senator Susan M. Collins. The approximately 65 foot tall turbine prototype is 1:8th the scale of a 6 megawatt (MW), 423 foot rotor diameter design. It is the first floating turbine of its kind in the world, using advanced material systems with a unique floating hull and tower design. The program goal is to reduce the cost of offshore wind to compete with other forms of electricity generation with no subsidies. Maine has 156 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity within 50 miles of its shores and a plan to deploy 5 GW of offshore wind by 2030. The 5 GW plan could potentially attract $20 billion of private investment to the state, creating thousands of jobs. The VolturnUS technology is the culmination of more than five years of collaborative research and development conducted by the UMaine led DeepCwind Consortium. The DeepCwind research program is a unique public private partnership funded by the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation Partners for Innovation, the Maine Technology Institute, the state of Maine, the University of Maine and more than 30 industry partners. Data acquired during the 2013 deployments off Castine and Monhegan will be used to optimize the design of UMaine’s patent pending VolturnUS system. The UMaine Composites Center has partnered with industry leaders to invest in a 12 MW, $96 million pilot farm. The deployments this summer will de-risk UMaine’s VolturnUS technology in preparation for connecting the first full scale unit to the grid in 2016.     read more

 

There’s a New Twist in Wind Blades


0 comments | 25th Feb 2014

NSE Composites used Abaqus FEA to validate a Sandia-funded sweep-twist design that captures 12 percent more energy. The basic physics and economics of wind turbine blades are relatively simple. For one, their power output is roughly proportional to the square of blade length. This relationship pushes designers to create increasingly longer blades for harvesting additional kilowatts. Secondly, as blades get longer, weight increases—by approximately the cube of the length—leading to higher raw material costs. This correlation sends designers in search of weight-efficient geometries that are strong and rigid enough to weather the increased loading inherent in longer blades. Navigating a maze of engineering challenges such as these can lead to interesting design directions. At the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind Energy Research Program at Sandia National Laboratories, the result has been the development of a sweep-twist adaptive rotor (STAR). This innovative curved blade was proposed in earlier theoretical research and had been garnering increasing interest for use in utility-scale applications. The new configuration is seen as a way to reduce operating loads on ever-lengthening blades. If successfully commercialized, the outcome would be larger, lighter, less-expensive, and more productive wind turbines. In 2004, Knight and Carver (K&C) Wind Group, a San Diego-based wind blade manufacturer, was awarded a DOE contract to develop STAR. Partnering with Sandia, K&C was responsible for design, fabrication, testing, and evaluation of a sweep-twist prototype. They began by assembling a team of specialized companies and academic institutions, one of which was Seattle-based NSE Composites, who were brought on board to perform the finite element modelling (FEM) of the new design. “NSE had done a lot of analyses over the years on composite aircraft and helicopter aero structures for companies such as Boeing,” says DM Hoyt, one of NSE’s founders. “Plus, we were already troubleshooting another blade problem for K&C and wanted to diversify our customer base to include more renewable energy, so the fit was a good one.” Hoyt and his partners at NSE have been using Abaqus from SIMULIA, the Dassault Systèmes application for realistic simulation, as their finite element analysis (FEA) tool for years. As their projects moved toward larger and more complex models, the software’s ongoing developments in simulating composites, crack generation, and fracture kept pace. “Simulation has been a great asset for both our aerospace and wind energy work,” says Hoyt. “It enables us to explore new ideas and look at the performance of multiple designs and materials while minimizing expensive testing.” Sweep-twist blade basics Rather than a traditional linear profile, a sweep-twist blade has a distinctive gently curving tip (or “sweep”) with curvature towards the trailing edge (see Figure 1). Theoretically, this planform shape allows the blade to respond to turbulent wind gusts through a process of controlled twisting and bending: As the blade twists, it sheds loads that would normally be translated as material stresses to the root (or base) of the structure. In nature, a similar sweep can be seen in the wing shape of birds that migrate long distances and the characteristic profile of whale tails and dorsal fins. The engineering upside of twist-coupling is the ability to create longer wind blades while avoiding the higher loads that typically accompany increased length. Reducing loading—not only on the blade root but also on the turbine itself—enables a lighter blade design with lower raw material costs and helps lessen fatigue stresses on the rotating machinery. In early calculations, the STAR design promised a decrease in fatigue loads of 20 percent using a tip twist of three degrees. But as the design progressed, longer blades that capture more energy with no increase in load were pursued. Beyond the potential advantages of altering the traditional length-weight-cost relationship, twist coupling is seen as a financially attractive solution for tapping low-wind-speed sites (defined as having an average velocity of 5.8 meters per second at a 10-meter height). These sites—in contrast to the high-wind-speed locations that have been the focus of wind-mining to date—are abundant in the U.S.’s mid-section and closer to major power-load centres. If the cost benefit proves favourable, development of low-wind locations could increase potential domestic wind farm area by a factor of twenty. Understanding turbine behaviour — without the wind “Over the years wind blades have become more and more high tech. The industry is pushing the limits of design and materials,” says Hoyt. “As that happens, engineers need to tighten up the loose legacy tolerances and manufacturing controls that originated in boat-building technology and adopt the more rigorous analyses that we have always done for complex aerospace structures.” Of particular use in wind blade analyses with FEA, notes Hoyt, is Abaqus’ ability to handle composite properties and control material orientation. It can calculate blade-tip deflection (to avoid “tower strike”) and accurately predict both torsional response (including twist angle, which is key to load-shedding) and shear-compression buckling stability (associated with sweep-twist) of composite sandwich structures. An additional capability key to wind blade analysis is the extraction of accurate equivalent beam properties directly from a solid 3D FEM. These bending and twisting definitions are used in wind-blade-specific dynamics codes to predict the overall performance of the turbine. “During the preliminary design phase, the type and amount of input data is often limited,” says Hoyt. “In the wind projects we’ve been involved with to date, there hasn’t been a high-fidelity CAD model available to use as a basis for the FEM.” So at the start of the STAR analysis, the NSE team only had the blade’s basic geometric parameters—the planform shape, the air foils, and the chord lengths—to work with. The desire for high-fidelity FEA at a design stage when only the basic parameters of the blade have been defined led to the development of NSE’s bladeMesher software, which is able to create a solid 3D mesh of the blade from the partial data. “Our software splines the geometry defined at several locations on the outer mould layer (OML) of the blade and combines it with the composite material thicknesses specified at each location to generate a mesh with the true thickness details,” says Hoyt. “This solid mesh and material definition is then imported into Abaqus where we perform a detailed finite element analysis. We have found that a solid FEM has many advantages over shell element FEMs, which have traditionally been used for blade analysis. These benefits include a more accurate prediction of twisting behaviour and the ability to analyse stresses in the adhesive joints between structural elements.” As the design of the blade progressed, the team explored new air foils and made adjustments to the sweep geometry to hone in on the optimal amount of twisting. The bladeMesher software enabled rapid updates to the solid FEM based on the new geometry, allowing the team to quickly assess the effect of each change. Abaqus’ task was to confirm the earlier section analysis predictions, which were performed using constant-section-equivalents to estimate the effective beam properties of the blade. To determine whether the sweep-twist geometry would shed loads as predicted, two wind scenarios were applied to the model: an operating load and an extreme-wind conditions case (50-year gusts at 156 miles per hour). The analysis was used to predict the blade deflection and twist, perform detailed stress calculations, and investigate potential shear buckling due to the increased twist inherent in the design. read more

 

US Army Shelter Constructed of Composite Material


0 comments | 29th Aug 2013

Based on the use of 20-foot ISO shelters in some of their systems, PD TMDE was asked to serve as the project sponsor and requirements provider for an Army Research Laboratory project to research and develop a new shelter for the Army constructed of composite material.   The program, called the C-4 shelter, resulted in a lightweight, corrosion resistant shelter that is lightweight and promotes energy efficiency. A lighter-weight shelter with improved insulation and other energy efficient characteristics greatly reduces transportation and operating expenses.   ARL with the assistance of Natick Shelters Technology, Engineering and Fabrications Directorate ensured the shelters met current and future requirements for government use. The C-4 shelter is composed mostly of carbon, epoxy and fiberglass material with very little dependence upon metal except for the exterior ISO corners. Two types of shelters were built − one with an 80db Electromagnetic Interference/High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse shielding and the other unshielded. The shielding proved to be superior to the shielding of previously acquired shelters providing protection of valuable electronics in the event of an electromagnetic attack. Even though 40 percent lighter than aluminium and steel shelters presently in use, the composite shelters have a greater strength per unit density than aluminium and steel giving it a superior strength to weight ratio. The C-4 shelters have a tare weight of 5,760 pounds with a maximum payload of 14,240 pounds. The C-4 shelters have passed the International Convention for Safe Containers certification. Shelter temperature is controlled by standard environmental control units and use LED lighting instead of florescent or incandescent which can be dimmed or changed to a blackout colour. The C-4 shelter built has a thermal resistance value of R-8 which far exceeds the ASTM standard of R-2.86. Shelter service life is estimated to be 30 years with lower maintenance costs; much of the shelter is field repairable. The shelter includes replaceable/repairable ISO corners and forklift pockets using hardware attachable components. This is a feature not found on any other ISO containers which is a major savings in cost and time in a depot. read more

 

UK Innovator Recycling Glass & Carbon Fibre Waste


0 comments | 04th Dec 2013

SIS would like to congratulate FORMAX. FORMAX has launched a new recycling initiative at its UK production facility. Thanks to the creation of a dedicated Recycling Division and the installation of two bespoke machines, FORMAX say it is now able to reprocess the majority of its glass and carbon fibre waste. FORMAX state the recycled materials are suitable for a variety of non-structural and structural applications across a range of industries, and a number of its customers are already manufacturing components using products from the division. "Last year we generated over 600 tonnes of glass waste so recycling is clearly very high on our agenda, both from a position of environmental responsibility, but also from a commercial standpoint. The market for recycled materials is a growing sector with a number of significant opportunities and the creation of our new Recycling Division allows us to devote considerable time and resource into optimizing products for these processes" comments Oliver Wessely, Managing Director of FORMAX. read more

 

A Tale of Two Bridges


0 comments | 03th Apr 2016

Composite Advantage in Dayton, Ohio, has provided FRP bridge decks for seven pedestrian bridges in the past four years. Scott Reeve, president of the company, is upbeat about the outlook for composites in the infrastructure segment. We're getting to the point where engineers, designers and procurement are letting us go head-to-head against concrete, he says. In the past, we were either excluded because they only considered traditional options or we had to do a lot of work to be a special demo case. However, Reeve admits that progress is slow. I tell my employees, It took 30 years for steel to replace wood in bridges. It will take longer than we want for composites to replace concrete, he says. You have to keep working at it. One way that Composite Advantage has made inroads in infrastructure is by providing products that help solve construction challenges and highlight the advantages of composites. That's the case for the two bridge projects presented here: One required accelerated construction, while the other was a highly-engineered bridge. Both utilized prefabricated FRP bridge decks. The decks were manufactured using the company's FiberSPAN molded sandwich construction, which employs fiberglass top and bottom skins and closely-spaced internal webs that function like a series of I-beams. The fibers in the webs are oriented at ± 45° angles and infused with resin to form very strong, stiff shear webs for the sandwich cross-section. The closely-spaced webs provide good crushing resistance to concentrated loads, and there is no local skin deflection since the skins are well supported by the webs. read more

 

Multipurpose Modules for Sustainable Buildings


0 comments | 22th Jan 2017

Edra Equipamentos has launched a multipurpose module for commercial construction applications.   The company say that the module, called "e.modular" can be used for instance, as a "pop-up" shop, for the showroom of real estate developers, cafeterias, help desk at events and even self-service banking kiosks.   Edra Equipamentos state the e.modular is a 3.2m wide, 6m long steel structure with composite coated walls and ceiling. The resin used for moulding the composite plates is partially derived from renewable and recyclable sources, such as oil plants and PET bottles. The floor is made of plastic wood composite and comprises of more than 90% discarded packaging waste.   The company added that during the day, the natural lighting of the e.modular is ensured by a system called Solatube, which captures and diffuses the light in the environment. To reduce the energy consumption of air conditioning, Edra Equipamentos applied special 3M film on all glass surfaces, which prevents the passage of more than 80% of infrared rays.   In terms of accessibility, the e.modular includes a wheelchair ramp, automatic doors and adapted bathrooms. Signed by São Paulo architect, Tatiane Rocha, the project makes use of curved lines and large transparent areas to increase the feeling of space.   "The design is both externally and internally modular. This means that users are totally free to define how they want to use the space. Not to mention that it is possible to overlap the modules, creating two or more floors," says Jorge Braescher, president of Edra Equipamentos. read more

 

Composite Wing Components for Airbus A350 XWB


0 comments | 30th Jan 2017

GE Aviation, Hamble has achieved a major program milestone with the delivery of its initial production wing fixed trailing edge components for the first A350 XWB to fly – ‘MSN001’. The first A350 XWB-MSN001 is now structurally complete and is currently undergoing ground testing in Toulouse. The A350 XWB wing fixed trailing edge package is the largest production contract awarded in GE Aviation Hamble’s 75-year history, comprising more than 3,000 components that include structural composite panels and complex machined assemblies. The A350 XWB has a total wingspan of more than 64 meters. “This delivery start up results from major achievements at GE Aviation in design and manufacturing – bringing together new tool sets, materials and technologies, while also involving concurrent engineering with global suppliers to obtain material and long-lead items in unprecedented timescales,” said Steve Walters, executive product leader for GE Aviation’s aerostructures and nacelle activities. “We have proved our capabilities and have created a secure foundation to build on for the future.” GE Aviation will provide the wing fixed trailing edge for all three A350 XWB family members: the A350-800, -900 and -1000. The company began its work on the wing components in October 2008, progressing from a very basic conceptual design while enhancing its management to address the project’s magnitude. In addition to increasing the scope of GE Aviation’s own technical capabilities, the company involved a global design team that included GE Aviation resources in Poland and India. “During the program, GE Aviation, as risk-sharing partner, developed a close working relationship with Airbus, as the aircraft manufacturer providing advice, assistance and support that enabled us to meet this major delivery milestone,” Walters added. In addition to major investments already implemented at the Hamble-le-Rice factory in Southampton, Hampshire for A350 XWB production, the site will see further enhancements with the creation of a new composites facility dedicated to this Airbus program. read more

 

'Greenly' Powering US Telecommunications Equipment


0 comments | 23th Sep 2015

Plastics Unlimited Inc manufactures the helical shaped rotor blades and end caps for US company Windstrips vertical axis (twisted Savonius design) wind turbines. These turbines are being installed on communications towers in the US, offering the telecommunications companies a greener way to power their equipment. This application won the Composites Sustainability Award, in the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA)'s Awards for Composites Excellence (ACE) competition. The award was presented during the ACMA's Composites 2013 trade show in Orlando, Florida, in January. read more

 

NASA Demonstrates Hybrid Wing Aircraft


0 comments | 26th Sep 2013

Aerospace engineers have long known that ditching a conventional tubular fuselage in favor of a manta-ray-like “hybrid wing” shape could dramatically reduce fuel consumption. A team at NASA has now demonstrated a manufacturing method that promises to make the design practical.   Combined with an extremely efficient type of engine, called an ultra-high bypass ratio engine, the hybrid wing design could use half as much fuel as conventional aircraft. Although it may take 20 years for the technology to come to market, the manufacturing method developed at NASA could help improve conventional commercial aircraft within the next eight to 10 years, estimates Fay Collier, a NASA program manager. The manufacturing technique lowers the weight of structural components of an aircraft by 25 percent, which could significantly reduce fuel consumption. The advances are the culmination of a three-year, $300 million effort by NASA and partners including Pratt & Whitney and Boeing.   There are two key challenges with the flying wing design. One is how to control such a plane at low speeds. NASA previously addressed this by building a six-meter-wide remote-controlled test aircraft (the X-48B) to demonstrate ways to control hybrid wings. Based on those tests and wind tunnel tests, NASA built a larger remote-controlled aircraft that started test flights last year.   The second challenge is building a full-scale version of the aircraft with pressurized cabins that is structurally sound. One reason tubular airplanes have persisted is that it’s relatively easy to build a tube that can withstand the forces acting on it from the outside during flight while maintaining cabin pressure. The hybrid wing design involves a flatter, box-like fuselage that blends with the wings. The flatter structure, which includes some near-right angles, is much more difficult to build in a way that’s strong enough and light enough to be practical.   NASA’s manufacturing process starts with preformed carbon composite rods. The rods are covered with carbon fiber fabric and stitched into place. Fabric is then stitched over foam strips to create cross members. The fabric is impregnated with an epoxy to create a rigid composite structure.   Sections of a fuselage built with the technique were tested and shown to withstand up to the forces that would be applied to a finished aircraft. Tests also showed that when enough pressure was applied to cause the parts to fail, the stitching used to make the structure stopped cracks from spreading—a key to avoiding catastrophic failure in flight.  The researchers are now building a 30-foot-wide, two-level pressurized structure that will be used in an attempt to validate the manufacturing approach. That structure is scheduled to be finished by 2015.  To achieve a 50 percent reduction in fuel consumption, the hybrid wing design will need to incorporate an advanced engine design. Collier says ultra-high bypass engines are a good match. In an ultra-high bypass design, the front fan on the engine is far larger than the core of the engine, where air is compressed and combustion takes place. Such large fans can be difficult to mount under the wing, as engines are mounted in most conventional airliners. The hybrid wing design involves mounting the engines on top of the plane, rather than under the wings (The top-mount design also cuts noise levels.)   NASA has helped Pratt & Whitney develop prototype ultra-high bypass engines, which are slated to go into commercial use for the first time next year, starting on Bombardier’s C-Series aircraft. NASA is further optimizing the engines to take advantage of the top-mount design in the hybrid wing airplane.   read more

 


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