Nanofi­bre strength­en­ing in hot de­mand

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS - DE­TAILS, WWW.XANTULAYR.COM

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.

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