SAMPE Journal - September/October 2012 - (Page 7)

A Note from the Technical Director Dr. Scott W. Beckwith SAMPE Journal Technical Editor SAMPE has seen two materials and process engineering technologies moving forward at a fairly rapid pace: nanotechnology and out-of-autoclave. Nanotechnology has been the topic of many of the technical papers, presentations, panels, and featured lectures in SAMPE’s conferences. Nanotechnology areas have provided our industry and society with considerable insight and technology related to a size scale that is extremely small (10-9). As such, the challenge there has been learning how to incorporate such small-scale entities into much larger scale, usable composite structures. At the same time, another process technology began to look into how to efficiently manufacture even much larger structures – those that fall more in the 103 size scale of things. The challenge presented with these much larger structures is that they require processing equipment and methods for achieving future advances with structures well over 15 feet/4.6 meter diameters. Currently these large sizes being produced for aerospace, wind energy, marine and other structures, as well as the autoclave processing method used when vacuum bagging and prepreg materials are involved, pose an industry expansion issue because of the 103 issue. Consequently, the new child on the block quickly became known as out-of-autoclave (OOA) technology. This technology has focused (at least initially) on looking at a new approach to building very large composite structures for the aerospace and commercial industries and bypassing the autoclave. Initial targets presented in the open literature were aircraft structures, large launch vehicle structures, space structures and large marine structures. This SAMPE Journal issue contains three technical articles on the subject at hand, demonstrating recent advances in the technology and applications areas where OOA is making in-roads. We should note that the term “out-of-autoclave” appears to have a number of other names synonymous with this field of technology. It is not unusual to see many of the following terms used to infer the same (or similar) technology aspects: “non-autoclave/ NONA” and “vacuum bag only/VBO”. Essentially, they are all somewhat the same. In most cases, the process starts with a cure cycle outside the autoclave (using vacuum bagging process techniques) at temperatures that are at or below 200F/93C. Postcure – or continued cure – processing then follows at temperature defined by the resin system at hand (typically in the neighborhood of 350F/177C or so. A good number of people have been looking at “OOA” technology seriously for the last 5-7 years. Much of the focus has been in the “materials” area where a number of resin material suppliers have been modifying their prepreg systems in order to achieve the comparable high performance previously noted when using an autoclave approach. These same material suppliers have conducted a significant amount of prepreg effort to provide new materials along with the appropriate cure cycle and process conditions necessary to achieve such performance. Hence, the suppliers have been looking at both the (a) material and (b) a modified process for that material. At the same time, a number of material suppliers, researchers and manufacturers have conducted in-depth large structural component part studies in order to optimize the OOA process and demonstrate the technology on various end-product size scales. One of the goals with OOA technology has been the need to demonstrate materials and process technology for manufacturing large composite structures that just do not fit into today’s autoclaves. Autoclaves currently seem to be limited in diameter size while the interest in composite structural sizes continues to increase beyond that capability. Autoclaves typically work using nitrogen gas and the volume of required gas (and cost) increases significantly as the autoclave diameter increases. Autoclaves definitely have a well-defined purpose and function, but the alternatives for building much larger structures in one piece have forced the industry to look at other options since autoclave vessel size currently is a major limitation. We expect to see OOA technology, and its variant terms (NONA, VBO), continue to grow at the same time that automation technology starts to become an option of considerable importance. Both OOA and automation technology appear to be important and achievable to the composites industry. “Out-of-Autoclave, by Any Name, is Moving Forward” SAMPE Journal, Volume 48, No. 5, September/October 2012 7

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SAMPE Journal - September/October 2012

SAMPE Journal - September/October 2012
President’s Message
SAMPE Journal Editorial Calender
Technical Director’s Corner
Prepreg Non-Autoclave Manufacturing Technology: Program Overview and Co-Cure Enablers for Disruptive, Pervasive Use
Welcome SAMPE’s Newest Members
Materials & Products
SAMPE Tech 2012|Charleston, SC
SAMPE Proceedings
Perspectives- Taking Material Science To The Next Frontier: Models Of Past Material Innovations And How They May Impact The 21st Century
Europe News & Views
SAMPE Europe’s SETEC 2012, Lucerne, Switzerland
SAMPE Europe’s SEICO 2013, Paris, France
SAMPE 2013|Long Beach Call for Papers
Industry News
Approach to Optimizing a Combined Out-of-Autoclave (OOA) Prepreg/Liquid Composite Molding (LCM) Process for Integrated Structures
SAMPE LinkedIn Communities
Corporate Partners
The SAMPE Foundation
Tech Tidbits
SAMPE Upcoming Events
Face-Sheet Quality Analysis and Thermo- Physical Property Characterization of OOA and Autoclave Panels
Advertiser’s Index
Resource Center
SAMPE Membership Application
SAMPE Books & CD’s Order Form
Industry Events Calendar
Chapter Meetings Dates and Contacts

SAMPE Journal - September/October 2012