Nanofibre strengthening in hot demand
is increasing its production output to meet growing worldwide demand for a nanofibre strengthening product used in everything from Formula One race cars and fishing rods through to the aerospace industry.
Demand for Revolution Fibres’ Xantu.Layr, which is the world’s only commercially available nanofibre composite reinforcement veil, has increased dramatically as a result of extensive research and development conducted in 2016 which helped to further validate Xantu.Layr’s performance in composites.
Nanofibre Applications Engineer Dr Gareth Beckermann says significant advancements have been made by using nanofibre interleaving veils to increase the impact strength, delamination resistance and fatigue life of composites.
“We are also increasingly seeing evidence that nanofibre veils outperform thermoplastic toughening particles and microfibre veils, and nanofibre veils can also improve the mechanical properties of composites containing already toughened resin systems.
“In some situations, the addition of lightweight nanofibre interleaving veils can improve delamination resistance by up to 170 percent, impact strength can be improved by up to 20 percent, and fatigue life can be improved by nearly 400 percent, all with negligible laminate weight and thickness gains.
“Nanofibre veils can also be used for localised reinforcement as opposed to having to apply veils to the whole composite part,” he says.
Revolution Fibres’ Operations Manager, Brent Tucker, says production capacity has recently doubled to meet the additional demand for Xantu. Layr for new and existing clients, which include Kilwell Fishing Rods and Kiwi Composites.
For commercially sensitive reasons Revolution Fibres is unable to name most companies it works with. However, the majority of them are in industries where extra high composite performance is required.
“We expect 2017 to be a significant year for Xantu.Layr production as many clients are coming to the end of their R&D program cycles with positive results,” says Tucker.
“This increased production capacity is a huge benefit to all because it will lead to cost reductions, especially for customers wanting larger volumes.”
In 2015 Revolution Fibres achieved its AS9100c certification, a quality assurance step that’s unprecedented in the nanofibre industry. This world-first certification provides internationally recognised assurance to customers that the systems and procedures behind the nanofibre production meet aerospace standards.
On the back of the increased demand for Xantu.Layr, Revolution Fibres has launched a new website which includes essential product information and an E- Commerce platform to make purchasing the product simple.
Revolution Fibres CEO, Iain Hosie, says the company’s aim now is to get more people using Xantu.Layr which is why it has introduced smaller quantity Hobby and Starter Packs to the range.
“It’s an incredibly versatile material and our goal is to make it easier for designers, production engineers and hobbyists to purchase Xantu.Layr in smaller quantities and to give them greater access to the technology.
“For some smaller composite users, the 100m MOQ was a barrier but with the new Hobby and Starter packs it’s so much more accessible. It’s surprisingly easy to use, and it should be used more often for improving composites.”
Revolution Fibres is interested in talking to distributors to spread the technology further, especially in Asia and the USA.
“It’s a product that will fit well with a number of distributor’s product portfolios to provide a significant and unique offering for their clients. We’re also keen to work with more carbon fibre pre-pregging companies to integrate Xantu.Layr directly into pre- preg materials as an additional toughening measure.”
Revolution Fibres ground breaking electro-spinning technology creates nanofibre out of a range of synthetic and bio- derived polymers.
Nanofibres are textiles made from super fine fibres between 100-500 nanometres in width (a human hair is 50,000 nm wide), and are made from a wide variety of polymers. These small fibres can create vast changes in mechanical strength, reactivity, and conductivity, among many other properties.
Revolution Fibres led the commercialisation of nanofibre technology in New Zealand with product lines such as filters for HRV Next Generation ventilation systems, the anti-allergy pillow liner Nanodream, and high performance Kilwell fishing rods.