Collaborating to enhance growth in composite materials using industries
Posted on 15/10/2018
Composite materials are widely used across a multitude of industries, often providing essential performance enhancing properties such as strength, durability, reduced weight and lower on-going maintenance costs.
Formula 1 cars and aerospace are perhaps the highest profile example of the use of advanced polymer composites. Growing awareness and disquiet over emissions and the environment impacts of our vehicles could drive a move towards increased use of lighter-weight, more durable and hopefully more affordable composite structures and components.
Taking advantage of the enhanced properties of composite materials
The rail industry already makes use of composite materials within its lineside infrastructure, stations structure, vehicles structure and interior panels. The weight reducing properties of composites have the potential to enhance the speed, fuel economy and reduce the environmental impacts of new rolling stock, and new composite materials could have applications in large scale rail infrastructure projects such as HS2.
Construction industries also make use of composites, which are essential in materials used for cladding and roofing, pipes and tanks, insulation and much more. Large-scale architectural projects, such as bridges, can take full advantage of the enhanced properties of composite materials. Composites could also play a major role in the provision of more affordable housing in the future.
Whilst perhaps less obvious, the defence industry relies on composite materials for its weapons, armours, and aircraft. The oil and gas industries use composites in subsea structures and for blast protection. Within maritime and marine industries, composites are used in boat structures, interiors and masts.
Composites have an important role to play in the reduction of CO2 emissions, for example through light weighting of transportation, and the development of more durable construction materials for infrastructure projects. These materials also play an important role in renewable energy, providing key properties such as strength and durability to wind turbine and tidal blades.
Accelerating innovation in the end uses of composite materials
If we are to ensure growth and industrial success for the UK’s end-users of composite materials, we must seize upon opportunities to accelerate innovation, building on existing capabilities in resin, fibres, interface chemistry, additives, process technology, engineering and product design.
The ability of the UK to develop and manufacture next generation composite materials will be driven by end-user requirement timescales. The development of new and the improved manufacturing of existing composite materials will be dependent on increased collaboration between end-users and the chemicals sector, cross-sector technology development and knowledge transfer.
With this in mind, KTN is hosting a collaboration event to provide end users and the composites manufacturers with an opportunity to discuss what they need from the chemical industry, and allow the chemical industry to expand upon what they can offer to end users.
Materials for Composites Collaboration Event, 14 November, Southampton
This event will focus on bringing together current and future end-users of composite materials (including aerospace, automotive, construction, marine, oil & gas, rail, renewable energy, space and defence) and the chemical industry to identify and address their needs and challenges.
There will be ample opportunities to connect with new collaborative partners through 1-2-1 speed networking sessions and by taking part in end user and chemical industry pitching sessions. This event, which is being supported by Composites UK, will also provide information on the latest funding opportunities that are relevant to composite materials.
Composite materials end-users and chemical companies are invited to find out more and register here.
If you would like to discuss whether this event is relevant to you, please contact the event lead, Ajay Kapadia (Knowledge Transfer Manager, Advanced Composites) or KTN’s Head of Chemistry & Industrial Biotechnology, Steve Fletcher.