At the CAMX Composites and Advanced Materials Expo taking place in Orlando, Florida from October 14 to 16th Hexcel will be promoting its latest innovations in carbon fiber and composite materials for aerospace and industrial markets including automotive and wind energy.
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 300°F/150°C (1150psi/80 bar pressure). With HexPly® M77 Hexcel has a product that addresses the challenges posed by very high volume production in the automotive industry. The low tack enables the prepreg to be cut into precise shapes by laser cutter. These plies can then 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 260°F/125°C enables the cured parts to 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 molding 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 mound design. At CAMX Hexcel will display a HexMC® carbon fiber/epoxy demonstrator part made from HexMC® M77 with a 38% resin content that was constructed from a single layer 4000 gsm preform with patches forming the ribs.
Other Automotive prepregs will feature in Hexcel’s promotions. Hexcel is displaying motorsports components manufactured by Indy Performance Composites using HexPly® M9.6 prepreg. HexPly® M9.6 is a flexible resin system suitable for various processing conditions, with a 6 week outlife at room temperature, competitive lead times and low minimum order quantities. Standard HexPly® M9.6 products include cosmetic grade 3K 200 gsm twill and plain weaves - and a conformable 670 gsm twill weave
Hexcel is also showing a side pod for a “Sprint Car Series” body manufactured from HexPly® M35-4, a toughened, controlled flow system producing an excellent surface finish. HexPly® M35-4 cures at a range of temperatures from 80–180°C/175 – 350°F. It provides excellent elevated temperature performance, with high Tg and service temperature. It can be cured using a variety of processes (press, autoclave and vacuum), with an optional post-cure. The prepreg has excellent drape and tack and a long shelf life and out-life
At the CAMX Conference Hexcel’s Joerg Radanitsch will be presenting a technical paper on multilayered carbon stacks for large wind turbine blades (Thursday October 16th at 10.30am). The paper will focus on multi-layer material concepts and Hexcel’s HexPly® M79 carbon fiber prepreg. HexPly® M79 was developed to meet industry requirements for a faster and lower temperature curing prepreg for very thick laminates in the wind energy and marine industries. The very low exotherm of HexPly® M79 allows the temperature to be increased more quickly in the mold, resulting in a shorter cure cycle. The prepreg cures in 8-10 hours at 160° F/70°C or in just 4-6 hours at 175°F/80°C. On Hexcel’s stand at CAMX visitors can see a carbon fiber laminate consisting of 695 plies of HexPly® M79 600 gsm carbon UD tape that cured in just 6 hours at 175°F/80°C.
HexTow® HM63 is the latest carbon fiber from Hexcel, offering the highest tensile strength of any High Modulus fiber on the market. HM63 provides outstanding translation of fiber properties in a composite, including superior interlaminar shear and compression strength making it ideal for any high stiffness and strength-critical applications including space, satellites, UAV, commercial aerospace and helicopters. HexTow® HM63 also meets the special requirements for premium sports and recreation applications including F1, marine craft, bikes and fishing rods.
PrimeTex® carbon fiber fabrics, with fibers spread in both the warp and weft direction provide a high performance reinforcement with uniform weave and gap-free finish. The PrimeTex® spreading process increases the closure factor by 5-8% compared to conventional weaving processes (depending on the carbon tow and FAW). PrimeTex® fabrics are ideal for Aerospace laminates as the gap-free structure reduces porosity and requires less part finishing. PrimeTex® can lower the mass in a composite structure, resulting in even greater weight savings than achieved with standard composite reinforcements. PrimeTex® gives excellent water tightness when used in honeycomb sandwich structures such as aircraft belly fairings or helicopter structures.
HexTOOL® composite tooling material from Hexcel enables mold tool manufacturers to build lightweight tooling that meets the strict requirements for stability and repeatability of tolerances that was previously only achieved with machined Invar tools. In addition HexTOOL® provides improved thermal performance and is much lighter than metal tooling, allowing easier handling and maneuverability. At CAMX Hexcel will display tooling manufactured by Sawyer Composites using HexTOOL® M61 that is used by CFAN to make the fan blades for the GE90 and GEnx engines.
HiTape® advanced dry carbon fiber reinforcements combine the benefits of automated processing with the cost-effectiveness of Out of Autoclave infusion technologies. HiTape® allows preforms to be manufactured in a fully automated lay-up process, with high deposition rates. When infused with HexFlow® resins, HiTape® parts 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. To demonstrate the potential of HiTape® for cost and cycle efficient primary aircraft structures, Hexcel has worked with Aerolia SAS and Coriolis Composites to design and manufacture an aircraft fuselage panel demonstrator that will be on display at CAMX.