Author: AKeson

Reinforcement to resin ratio

Reinforcement and resin are mutually beneficial to each other. The reinforcement is the strength in the system and the resin is the binder that holds the reinforcement together and shapes the product. The ratio is important in creating the optimal characteristics of cost, quality, and weight of the final product. The reinforcement may consist of glass fibers (fiberglass), carbon fiber, kevlar, as well as a myriad of other natural and man-made fibers. The resin may consist of thermoset polyester, thermoset vinylester, thermoset polyurethane, epoxy, as well as any thermoplastics. As these are combined to create a product, the ratio used can create a wide range of properties. The process used and processing goes a long way towards the actual resin to reinforcement ratio. Hand layup is extremely operator dependent where a good, careful laminator can achieve a 30-40% glass loading depending on the design of the glass and the time allowed. Sprayup processing will allow for glass loading up in the 25 to 35% range. This process is usually a faster pace production process where more advanced equipment is used, though it is generally hand-operated and again operator dependent. Resin Infusion processing can achieve reinforcement ratios towards 60% depending upon the reinforcements used and the processing. Some reinforcements have voids in them for the resin flow, which remain full at cure and lower the reinforcement ratio. Infusion processing will...

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Energy Conservation

Composites are a great material for energy conservation. Their superior stiffness to weight ratio allows for them to replace other materials in sectors like transportation in order to gain weight savings. These weight savings of course require less energy to move and stop the vehicles. Discovered decades ago by racers of all kinds, reducing mass gains advantage.  Lightweight materials such as fiberglass work very well in that cause. The sailboat guys know it too; the lightweight carbon fiber masts reduce weight versus aluminum to gain a weight advantage. Drag car bodies made of lightweight fiberglass instead of sheet metal or aluminum. Circle track cars with fiberglass hoods, noses, and bumpers. Examples of conserving energy with composites, and the racers got it right a long time...

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