Environmentally friendly and energy efficient pultrusion

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Metallurgy and Materials

Abstract

The aim of this project is to develop a new pultrusion technique that is environmentally friendly and one that permits new and fast-curable resin systems to be evaluated. In the conventional process, the reinforcing fibres are impregnated in a resin bath and then passed through a heated die to cross-link the resin and to shape the pultruded component. In the new manufacturing technique, the components of the resin will be stored in separate containers and pumped on-demand using a custom-designed liquid delivery system. Efficient and effective impregnation of the fibres will be achieved using a novel combination of an injection-head and electro hydrodynamic atomisation, and fibre spreading using mechanical and electrostatic-based techniques. The background to this current proposal is the successful completion of an EPSRC/DTI project on Clean Filament Winding where the technology for injecting the reinforcing fibres without the use of a resin bath was demonstrated. However, in the current project, new technology will be developed for the pultrusion process where up to 20 individual fibre bundles will be impregnated without using a conventional resin bath. The cure kinetics of the fast-curing resins will be evaluated and appropriate models will be used to predict the impregnation rates for the spread fibre bundles. Previously developed fibre optic sensors will be used to enable real-time chemical process monitoring and structural integrity assessment in-service. The green credentials of this new manufacturing technique will be assessed using life cycle assessment and life cycle cost analysis.
 
Description Three major classes items of equipment were built, commissioned and evaluated namely, a pultrusion machine, a resin dispenser and resin impregnation units. These items were integrated successfully and feedback control between the pultrusion machine, the resin dispensing and the rein impregnation units was achieved.

• The basic philosophy that was adopted was to spread the filament in the bundle prior to impregnation. Two fibre spreading units were designed, manufactured and evaluated. A new concept based on "tension-release" for spreading the filaments in a bundle was proposed and published.

• The new environmentally friendly clean pultrusion technique was demonstrated successfully in the laboratory using four classes of thermosetting resins (epoxy, vinyl ester, polyester and polyurethane).

• Although site trials were not part of the original Second Level Plan (SLP), a number of site trials were undertaken and the new pultrusion technique was demonstrated successfully on site.

• Binder specific E-glass fibres were supplied by PPG for the matrices that were used in this project.

• A range of polyurethane resin formulations were provided by HUN and evaluated by UB.

• A unique multi-functional fibre optic sensor system was optimised over the course of this project. This sensor system was capable of providing information on strain, temperature, refractive index and cross-linking kinetics.

• The fibre-optic Fresnel sensor system was adopted for integration into the pultruded composites.

• An anomaly was observed when acrylate-coated optical fibre sensors are embedded in composites and subjected to a temperature regime above the glass transition of the acrylate. This anomaly is not observed when polyimide coated fibre sensors are used.

• A life cycle analysis was carried out on the conventional and clean pultrusion techniques where the "green" credentials of the new pultrusion technique was demonstrated.

• An exploitation strategy was developed for new build and retrofitting the clean pultrusion technique.
Exploitation Route (i) Impregnation of reinforcing fibre bundles

(ii) Coating of fabrics

(iii) Filament spreading

(iv) Process monitoring using optical fibre sensors

(v) Multi-component resin delivery system (i) New-build pultrusion machine: This will be led by UK's only manufacturer of pultrusion machined (Pultrex Ltd)

(ii) Retrofits: Alta Innovations and Mould Life Ltd.

(iii) Resin delivery system: CTM Ltd

(iv) Binder-specific E-glass fibres: PPG Industries

(v) Resin systems: Huntsman

(vi) Resin impregnation unit: university of Birmingham



Overall exploitation is led by Mould Life Ltd.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Construction,Creative Economy,Education,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport

URL http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?hl=en&user=eFZ8Bj0AAAAJ&view_op=list_works&sortby=pubdate
 
Description Part 1 give the background and key achievements. Three major classes items of equipment were built, commissioned and evaluated namely, a pultrusion machine, a resin dispenser and resin impregnation units. These items were integrated successfully and feedback control between the pultrusion machine, the resin dispensing and the rein impregnation units was achieved. • The basic philosophy that was adopted was to spread the filament in the bundle prior to impregnation. Two fibre spreading units built.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Education,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Other
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description DSTL
Amount £134,000 (GBP)
Funding ID DSTLX1000064096 
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2012 
End 01/2016
 
Description DSTL MSc Bursary Top-Up
Amount £24,000 (GBP)
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2016 
End 03/2016
 
Description Demonstration of z-axix fibre composites
Amount £34,000 (GBP)
Organisation Ministry of Defence (MOD) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2012 
End 01/2013
 
Description E3COMP
Amount £285,617 (GBP)
Funding ID AB135A 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2010 
End 07/2013
 
Description Fibralspec
Amount £750,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 604248 
Organisation European Commission 
Department Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 02/2014 
End 01/2017
 
Description Flame Retardants
Amount £34,000 (GBP)
Organisation Zero Ignition 
Sector Private
Country Canada
Start 09/2013 
End 08/2015
 
Description Mosaic - Composites in Ships
Amount £350,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 314037 
Organisation European Commission 
Department Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 02/2012 
End 01/2015
 
Description Next Generation Filament Winding
Amount £285,617 (GBP)
Funding ID BD072K 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2010 
End 04/2013
 
Description Optimus
Amount £250,000 (GBP)
Organisation European Commission 
Department Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2016
 
Description The design and evaluation of a new class of inter-fiament hybrids
Amount £134,000 (GBP)
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2016
 
Description CTM Ltd 
Organisation CTM Litigation and Tax Services
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution TSB Project Partner: Responsible for designing and providing the resin dispensing unit. TSB total eligible costs for CTM.
Start Year 2008
 
Description Huntsman Polyurethanes Ltd 
Organisation Huntsman International
Department Huntsman Polyurethanes
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution TSB Project Partner responsible for supplying a new range of polyurethane resins. TSB Total eligible costs for Huntsman Polyurethanes Ltd. This partner was responsible for providing ne polyurethane resin formulations.
Start Year 2008
 
Description TSB Project Partner: PPG, UK Ltd 
Organisation PPG Industries, UK. Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution TSB Project partner: PPG's role was to supply binder-specific E-glass fibres for the project. PPG supplied fibres to the University and a project partner for the site trials. Mark Hudson has also contributed to a number of training activities and publications.
Start Year 2008
 
Description TSB Project Partner: Pultrex Ltd 
Organisation Pultrex Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Puktrex Ltd was the Project Leader. TSB Project: Total eligible cost for Pultrex.
Start Year 2008
 
Title (i) Fibre spreading; and (ii) Z-axis xomposites. 
Description These technologies have been created from my last EPSRC grant where fibre spreading was used to increase the impregnation efficiency. During the research on electrostatically-assisted impregnation, I developed vertically-aligned sandwich composites. 
IP Reference Two patent applications in progress 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted
Licensed No
Impact Two patent application are in progress.
 
Title A Resin Applicator and a Method of Using the Same 
Description A new technique for manufacturing pultruded sections using clean production techniques. 
IP Reference WO2010041027 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2014
Licensed Yes
Impact 1. Assessing market potential 2. Two of teh partners have been tasked to market the technology
 
Company Name Sensors and Composites Ltd 
Description To exploit the sensors and composites innovations developed by the PI via EPSRC and TSB funding. 
Year Established 2015 
Impact Incorporated in 2015.
 
Description NEC Composites Show 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Mould Life stand at the NEC Composites Show.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012