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Hexcel Promotes Composites For Aerospace, Automotive and Wind Energy at Composites Europe 2014

9/26/2014

Hexcel will be promoting its latest carbon fiber and composite technologies at Composites Europe 2014, in Stuttgart, Germany, from October 7th to 9th, 2014. Hexcel will show how innovations in carbon fiber, prepregs and weaving technologies are transforming composite structures in aerospace, automotive, wind energy and marine markets.

Automotive

Hexcel is promoting its proven fast cure system HexPly® M77 that meets the needs of large volume manufacturers in the automotive and sports goods industries, offering a 2-minute press-cure cycle at 150oC (80 bar pressure). With HexPly® M77 Hexcel has a product that is already addressing the challenges posed by very high volume production in the automotive industry. The low tack of HexPly® M77 enables the prepreg to be cut into precise shapes by laser cutter. For automated processing the individual plies can be oriented, assembled and consolidated into a flat preform by robot. Once in the mold HexPly® M77 has an optimized gel time that allows the resin to flow into the contours to produce the precise geometries required. The high Tg of 125oC enables the cured parts can be demolded while hot for a faster production cycle. HexPly® M77 snap cure prepreg benefits from a 6-week outlife at room temperature and is available in various forms including unidirectional or woven reinforcements and heavy tow fibers.

HexPly® M77 epoxy resin is also supplied in the form of HexMC®, a high performance carbon fiber/epoxy compound developed specifically for compression molding processes with a very high fiber volume content providing excellent mechanical performance. HexMC® is ideal for the series production of complex shaped parts with thickness variation, sharp angles or parts that require inserts to be integrated into the moulding process such as screw threads. HexPly® M77 is a suitable alternative to lightweight metals for structural applications, is capable of hybridization to metal and has superior mechanical properties to vinyl esters. Hexcel's technical support team is adept at providing advice on the processing of HexMC, including mold design.

On Hexcel's stand at Composites Europe there will be a number of automotive parts including spoilers for the BMW 2 series and BMW 3 series cars and the air intake for the BMW mini made by Benet Automotive s.r.o using HexPly® M49 carbon fiber prepreg. HexPly® M49 is a 120oC curing toughened epoxy matrix with good impact resistance that is self-adhesive to honeycomb and can be processed using a wide range of production techniques. HexPly® M49 also has high aesthetic appeal providing the desired look of real carbon fiber.

Wind Energy and Marine

Hexcel has expanded its prepreg range to meet the requirements for extra-large structures such as wind blades and yacht masts. Hexcel developed HexPly® M79 to provide a faster and lower temperature curing prepreg, with low exothermic reaction for very thick laminates. A number of cure cycle options are possible for HexPly® M79 including a very low temperature cure of 8-10 hours at 70oC or a more rapid cure cycle of just 4-6 hours at 80oC. With previous systems it could take 10 hours to cure a laminate at 80oC. HexPly® M79 also has a very long out life at room temperature of at least 6 weeks. When HexPly® M79 carbon fiber UD prepreg is used in conjunction with Hexcel's patented grid technology a void content in the cured laminate of less than 1% is achievable, regardless of the part thickness.

On Hexcel's stand at Composites Europe visitors can see a carbon prepreg laminate consisting of 695 plies of HexPly® M79 600 gsm carbon UD tape with Hexcel's grid technology. This 400mm thick laminate cured in just 6 hours at 80oC. The very low exotherm of HexPly® M79 allowed the temperature to be increased more quickly in the mold, resulting in a shorter cure cycle. Hexcel will also display a yacht mast made with HexPly® M79 by Mates.

Aerospace

Hexcel's HexPly® M92 prepreg for aerospace structures combines all the major benefits achieved individually with other 125⁰C curing epoxy resins in one new "multi-purpose" system. These benefits include a hot wet Tg of 115oC, allowing HexPly® M92 to operate at higher service temperatures from a lower temperature cure. The system is self-adhesive to honeycomb, making it suitable for sandwich structures as well as monolithic components. Other benefits include high toughness, fire resistance, low exotherm, a long out/tack life and the ability to cure by vacuum bag.

At Composites Europe Hexcel will display a Helicopter Rotor Hub Cap Fairing manufactured by Airbus Helicopters. This oven-cured part is a honeycomb sandwich structure in which the prepreg is bonded directly to the non-metallic core, without any additional adhesive. Airbus Helicopters estimates that weight savings of 8 to 15% will be achieved by manufacturing this part from HexPly® M92, depending on the helicopter type.

HiTape® advanced dry carbon fiber reinforcements combine the benefits of automated processing with the cost-effectiveness of Out of Autoclave infusion technologies for next generation aircraft primary structures. HiTape® allows preforms to be manufactured in a fully automated lay-up process, with high deposition rates. Parts produced with HiTape® and Hexcel's HexFlow® infusion resins can be up to 30mm thick with a 58 to 60% Fiber Volume Content, resulting in mechanical properties that are as high as those achieved with primary structure prepregs.

Carbon Fiber

Hexcel has added to its range of IM and AS Fiber by launching a new High Modulus carbon fiber, called HexTow® HM63. This new fiber has the highest tensile strength of any HM fiber and provides outstanding translation of fiber properties in a composite, including superior interlaminar shear and compression strength. HexTow® HM63 is therefore ideal for any high stiffness and strength-critical applications including space, satellites, UAV, commercial aerospace and helicopters. It also meets the special requirements for premium sports and recreation applications including F1, marine craft, bikes and fishing rods.

Related Exhibition:
COMPOSITES EUROPE 2014
9th European Trade Fair & Forum for Composites, Technology and Applications
10/7/2014 - 10/9/2014
Venue: Dusseldorf Exhibition Centre, Dusseldorf, Germany

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