June’s Top Composite News!

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Wind Energy Industry:

Let’s kick off our newsfeed with very exciting news: a project that aims to pioneer the use of natural fiber composites in the wind energy industry!

The project Green Nacelle is commissioned by DOT (Delft Offshore Turbine), a leading wind turbine R&D innovator who are part of the DOB-Academy based in Delft, Netherlands. Manufactured by NFC specialists Greenboats®, with composite materials from Sicomin and Bcomp, and engineering support from Judel/Vrolijk & Co, the Green Nacelle is reported to be the largest NFC structure built to date.

Greenboats has specialized in the engineering and manufacturing of natural-fiber composites for the last ten years, inspiring companies to rethink their composite solutions and move towards more sustainable options. With the Green Nacelle, the company and its customer DOT Power have demonstrated that the state of the art in renewable and bio-based composite materials, coupled with efficient composite processing techniques, can lower energy consumption in manufacturing and significantly improve the sustainability of large-scale wind energy components.

Based on the extensive NFC processing expertise developed in-house, Greenboats can reduce the CO2 emissions of a typical glass fiber-reinforced composite (GFRP) part by 60-80% over the product life cycle. In the case of the Green Nacelle, energy consumption in manufacturing has also been reduced by over 50% compared to a nacelle made with existing GFRP technology. These important sustainability benefits are all realized without compromising the performance, quality, or durability of the final composite structure.

https://www.jeccomposites.com/news/the-green-nacelle-pioneering-natural-fibre-composites-in-wind-energy/

Amazing, right? Definitely a step in the right direction!

Now, let’s talk about composite materials in the automotive industry! We have selected two news that cover groundbreaking projects!

Automotive Industry:

BMW

Let’s start with a banger: 3D printing and AFP join forces in automotive demonstrator!
Bavarian auto industry and TU Munich research how to reduce molding costs by combining continuous fiber and 3D-printed composites!

In 2019, engineers from BMW began a collaboration with Technical University of Munich to investigate how to use additive manufacturing (AM) to reduce injection molding costs in such parts. TUM had been conducting various research projects on how to combine more traditional composites manufacturing like layup via automated fiber placement (AFP) with 3D printing that uses continuous fiber reinforcement. “Injection molding tools are quite expensive,” explains Franz Maidl, technology development engineer in BMW’s Lightweight Construction and Technology Center. “Our goal was a fully comparable solution to the MAI Skelett technology but much less costly via additive manufacturing.”

For this next evolution of the Skelett roof frame, two different demonstrators were built using two different AM methods combined with continuous CFRTP materials. The front roof frame demonstrated in the MAI Skelett project was revised using selective laser sintering (SLS) and injection or AFP while the part shown in this article combined extrusion-based 3D printing and AFP to produce a mid-roof frame, located at the B-pillar connection between the chassis side frames. Both frames are slightly curved and close out the chassis “box,” providing stiffness and resistance to torsion. However, the front roof frame also requires mating with the windshield and multiple attachments for interior parts.

Interested to know more about this project? Check out this link:

https://www.compositesworld.com/articles/3d-printing-and-afp-join-forces-in-automotive-demonstrator

Artura GT4

On another note, we have an excellent display of what carbon lightweight design can achieve: McLaren has unveiled the Artura GT4! A model which builds on 570S GT4 and 720S GT3 competition cars with a carbon fiber monocoque for lightweight, precise handling characteristics and enhanced durability.

The new Artura GT4 shares much of its technology with the new McLaren Artura road car, which debuts the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture featuring a carbon fiber monocoque. This motorsport-inspired chassis design and construction is an ideal platform for a race car, McLaren notes, as a rigid structure enables a wider setup envelope for the driver as well as providing a strong and safe driving environment.

The minimization of weight is a key element of the Artura road car, and this philosophy continues in the race car — with a compact V6 engine and ancillaries including the exhaust system, all weight-optimized, the GT4 car is more than 100 kilograms lighter than the outgoing 570S GT4!

https://www.compositesworld.com/news/newly-debuted-artura-gt4-features-mclaren-carbon-lightweight-architecture

Aerospace Industry:

Aero Design Labs’s ADRS-1 kit includes revised fairings and vortex generators to save $12,000 in fuel and >40 tons of CO2 per aircraft per month!

Designed by a team led by ADL’s chief technology officer (CTO) and airframe drag-reduction specialist, Eric Ahlstrom, the modification kit was refined using proprietary computational fluid dynamic (CFD) algorithms that were tested on supercomputers in the U.K. and U.S. “Our proprietary software has embedded artificial intelligence that will significantly shorten future run times,” founder of ADL, Lee Sanders, says. “What used to take us five months to develop a product we can now get done in a matter of a few weeks.

The ADRS-1 kit consists of a revised wing-to-body aft fairing, modified flap track fairing tips, updated wheel-well fairings, revised aerodynamics around the environmental control system (ECS) pack ram air exit duct and several strategically placed vortex generators. The modifications are particularly tailored to address areas of interference and parasitic drag around the fuselage that have never previously been tackled or only partially treated over the life of the aircraft.

Made predominantly from composite structures, the kit weighs 180 pounds but results in a net gain of only 110 pounds. after replacement of the original structure. ADL says future weight reductions are being studied but adds that the current material set is designed to “far exceed FAA standards and airline rigor.” The kit is expected to require around 150 work-hours to install. “We feel that the kit is minimally impactful from an out-of-service time perspective,” Martin says.

https://www.compositesworld.com/news/new-composites-based-drag-reduction-kit-for-boeing-737-ng-receives-faa-stc-cuts-fuel-burn