Next Generation Materials

Incorporation of next generation base materials under investigation or development at GLC are in the following material technology areas; 1) Resins, 2) Fiber and, 3) Core/laminate technology. Overall attributes of these categories are being studied for physical properties (strength, stiffness, elasticity, fracture/fatigue, toughness and longlife durability), environmental characteristics (recycling, biodegradation, safe for use, sustainabiility), chemical/moisture resistance and thermal characteristics (expansion/contraction, high/low temperature limits, processing and flame/ignition resistance). Feasibility evaluations are not limited to the attributes listed. Further Importance in consideration of introducing next generation materials is the level of process/manufacturing compatibility into final materials and products.

  • Resins: GLC has partnered with Ecosynthetix to develop a biodegradable, recyclable and lower cost family of thermoplastic resins. Higher modulus, strength, temperature operating range (e.g. PEEK/PPS), adhesion and lower energy resin processing technologies are also considerations in evaluation of next generation thermoplastic polymer technology. Many of the advancements are using embedded formulations to improve the base resin properties.
  • Fibers: Several technologies are in various stages of R&D and being evaluated or under consideration at GLC. The first is in E glass variants which have completed initial analysis/testing with Owens Corning. A hybrid fiber has been selected that extends the tensile strength by 20% while maintaining other glass characteristics and cost in comparison to existing E glass. The fiber was successfully trialed in the DRIFT tape process method. Fibers historically have either strength or ductility; not both. This is being addressed by several technical groups for various types of glass with Basalt and Carbon fiber the major focus. Improved Basalt fibers are being trialed at GLC for applications within the cement/construction industries. Carbon fiber as the premium strength/stiffness/weight leader has an extremely high cost penalty due to a complex processing method. Cost reduction methods in manufacturing are being addressed at the raw material supplier level. GLC can produce carbon fiber based composites however their cost issues highly limit many applications. Nano technology and the manufacturing of nanotube fibers was first developed on Carbon fiber. Work at Northwestern University and other R&D centers indicate great promise for fiber improvements in E,S andT glass as well as Aramids. Characteristics of nanotube based fiber construction enhance strength, toughness and ductility. Intelligent fiber technology developed at MIT is under consideration by GLC however no applications to drive this development have been identified presently. Fiber processing, adhesion to resin and physical properties using fiber additives have been successfully demonstrated and being investigated by GLC.
  • Core/laminate technology: Inner cores are frequently used in laminate/multiply materials to increase load bearing on the outer composite skins. GLC is continually evaluating low cost/lightweight cores which are the major factors in Core selection along with physical and other properties similar to resin technologies. GLC has experience in the use of interface scrims within the lamination process to improve lamination bond to other layers. Many of the laminate products require surface appearance which through new technologies in thermally activated films/coatings can be introduced into the lamination process.