Tag Archives: composites


  • The utilization of composites increases daily in manufacturing as more ways in which to use this advanced material are discovered. Composite is a smart material that provides a lighter weight and stronger product. This advanced material is being used in many different industries, from consumer products like bicycle frames to airplanes. Yet, because the strength is held in the fibrous matrix of the material, composites must be adhesively bonded together as traditional mechanical fasteners can break the fibers and compromise the material’s integrity.

    To guarantee these bonds, BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst™ precisely, accurately, and quantifiably measures the surface’s readiness to bond. BTG Labs’ experience in the field of composites reaches back to the genesis of the Surface Analyst when the USAF turned to the company to engineer a hand-held surface energy measurement device for composite bonding of aircraft. Since then, the Surface Analyst’s composite applications continue to increase and span into many more industries.

    Surface Analyst Applications Examples for Bonding, Coating, Sealing, and Painting Composites

    • Aerospace: satellites, aircraft, and spacecraft
    • Sports and Recreation: sporting equipment
    • Automotive: structural components, drive shafts, interior parts
    • Medical Device: prosthetics, repair equipment, tubing
    • Marine: structural frames and components, fiber glass applications
    • Renewable energy: wind turbines, fuel cells, marine turbines, power transmissions, solar panels
    • Construction: architectural, fiberglass, bridges, infrastructure, housing, refurbishing

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  • Consumer Goods

    Golf BallThe world of consumer goods is highly diverse so consequently, manufacturing processes are even more varied. From golf clubs to paints to windows to solar panels, consumer goods products face a variety of stresses in the field that can include moisture, impact, contaminants, and environmental stresses. Manufacturers must produce a product to withstand those stresses. BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst™ can do just that. It is a versatile, handheld, accurate, easy to use instrument that can cut down on failure and waste and ensure surfaces are properly prepared to create the strongest bonds whether its coating, printing, painting, sealing, or cleaning. The Surface Analyst measures, monitors, and guarantees from the lab to the factory floor.

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  • Mechanical testing of the bond surface on an adhesive joint.

    Mechanical testing of the bond surface on an adhesive joint.

    BTG Labs recently hosted another successful webinar through Composites World Magazine. The webinar, presented by BTG Labs’ CEO and Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham, entitled “Understanding and Controlling the Bond Surface in Manufacturing for Reliable Adhesive Bonds of Composites” drew over 580 registrants.

    In the presentation, Dr. Dillingham details the benefits of using adhesive bonds in composite manufacturing and repairs and ways to ensure the success of those bonds. The use of composite materials in manufacturing is increasing as composites provide a stronger and lighter material. However, because of their structure, mechanical fasteners compromise the material strength of the composite. Thus, adhesive bonds provide the most successful way in which to bond composites. To ensure the success of an adhesive bond, certain surface preparation methods must be in place. Consequently, the strength of a bond depends on the surface energy of the bond surface. The webinar discusses characteristics of a successful bond surface and different preparation methods to attain that desired surface.

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  • Progress in the Reliability of Bonded Composite Structures

     

    Improving Composite Bonds in Aircraft

     

    The Surface Analyst™ technology has many of its roots in the CAI (Composites Affordability Initiative) program from the mid to late 1990’s.  This industry/government partnership comprised of a team charged with addressing the perceived risks and barriers to a more widespread use of composite materials in aircraft design. The collaboration included members from the Air Force Materials Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research, Bell Helicopter Textron, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Northrop Grumman Corporation.

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  • Building a More Fuel-Efficient Automobile

     

    The pursuit to produce a more fuel-efficient automobile does not rely solely on the efficiency of the engine. A great amount of fuel efficiency gains are possible not because of improvements to engine design, but because of improvements in materials. This is an obvious thing to say, but by creating a lighter body, an engine does not require as much energy to move a vehicle forward. Car manufacturers have looked to the aerospace industry for inspiration, and much like modern fighter jets, have settled on the use of composite materials in car frames and interiors to reduce weight.

    Poznan, Poland - April 9th, 2015: Presentation of car body construction from BMW i8 on the Motor Show Poznan (in Poznan International Fair). The car body of this vehicle is constructed with carbon fiber, aluminium and special plastic. That's why the BMW i8 is very light in compare with rivals.

    BMW i8 with a body constructed with carbon fiber composite, aluminium and special plastic.

    As the use of composite materials continues to grow– and even become integrated into more critical parts such as automobile frames–the issue of safety becomes more important. Due to the structure of composite materials, mechanical fasteners sacrifice compatibility. The strength of composite materials dwindles when fibers break due to holes used for fasteners. Rather than using mechanical fasteners, adhesives replace fasteners to bond these composite materials to the frame. These bonds are strong enough to withstand the stresses of a wreck. This allows composite material utilization on critical components of the car frame. That is, of course, assuming the strength of the bond remains consistent – and that is where matters become complicated.

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  • Webinar: Measuring Surface Energy in Manufacturing and Repair of Composites to Assure Quality of Bonded Interfaces

     

    Webinar: Measuring Surface Energy in Manufacturing and Repair of Composites to Assure Quality of Bonded Interfaces

     

    Thu, Jun 9, 2016 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

     

    OVERVIEW

    This interactive tutorial provides a comprehensive look at common industry practices, including typical surface preparation methods for composites and an overview of the basic scientific principles involved in measuring surface energy and how it relates to material performance in manufacturing and repair. This presentation will focus on universal methods and techniques used to measure and achieve durable and consistent surface preparation in manufacturing across all industries. Ensuring surface condition and consistency is a vital component for guaranteeing success in sealing, coating, bonding, painting, printing or cleaning.

     

    PRIMARY TOPICS

    • Common surface preparation methods and techniques for composite substrates.
    • What is surface energy and why is it important to maintain and understand it in manufacturing.
    • How to measure surface energy in a manufacturing or repair environment.
    • Using surface energy measurements to modify surface energy, determine process optimization, and perform quality assurance.

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  • Grit-Blasting and Surface Energy

    Unraveling Grit-Blasting Effects

     

    This paper is part of an ongoing collaboration between Dr. Giles Dillingham, BTG Lab’s chief scientist, and other members of the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Chemical and Material Engineering, Boeing, and the Materials Directorate of the Wright Patterson Air Force Base to study the effects of grit-blasting on graphite/epoxy composites.

    Grit-blasting, a commonly used surface preparation process  frequently applies to polymer composites. However, very little experiments and observations exist concerning the effects of grit-blasting on the surface properties of composites. …Read More

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  • SAE International

    Society of Automotive Engineers International

    BTG Labs will be attending the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) AMS Aerospace Organization Coatings Committee (AMS G-8)’s annual meeting May 3-5. Dr. Giles Dillingham and Lucas Dillingham will present on “An Integrated Approach to Quantification of Contaminant Effects on Surface Sensitive Processes.” The presentation is based on a collaboration with Lockheed Martin Skunkworks under DARPA support about a new approach at studying surface contaminants. This new approach proposes studying contaminants according to their chemical structure rather than the conventional way which studies the effects of complex contaminant mixtures without identifying and studying individual contaminants. G-8, a branch of SAE, studies adhesive bonding of composites and composes the handbook for bonding composites in aircraft, as well as the publication of the CMH-17 Handbook. SAE strives to standardize language relevant to data generation, testing, and reporting of composites. Below is the abstract for Dr. Dillingham’s presentation.

     

    An Integrated Approach to Quantification of Contaminant Effects on Surface Sensitive Processes ~ Lucas Dillingham, Giles Dillingham / BTG Labs

     

    The detrimental effects of a contaminant are determined by i) the amount of the contaminant in the environment, ii) the affinity of the contaminant for the critical surface, and iii) the compatibility (i.e. solubility) of the contaminant in the adhesive or coating.  The most common approach for evaluating contaminant effects has been to evaluate the effect of a complex blend of multiple contaminants. Because this approach provides no information as to what makes a given contaminant detrimental, it limits our ability to predict the effect of an untested contaminant.    Developing an understanding of the relationship between contaminant structure and effect can lead to more intelligent design of surface preparation processes, more robust adhesive and coating formulations, and more reliable manufacturing processes.

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  • Giles Dillingham, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientist, BTG Labs - See more at: http://wpbox7.net/8a/5f0908ac/news-blog/#sthash.DAtCmcqp.dpuf

    Giles Dillingham, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientist, BTG Labs

    A Deep History in Materials Science

     

    President and Chief Scientist of BTG Labs, Dr. Giles Dillingham’s fascination by the connections between the invisible (the molecular structure of the world around us) and the perceivable (the properties and behavior of materials and objects) stems from a very early age.

    It wasn’t until he had nearly completed a degree in biology that he discovered the field of study that formalizes this broad interdisciplinary subject: Materials Science. After finding this new specialty, he went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati in 1987. He used advanced surface analytical tools to demonstrate the ability of surfaces to profoundly influence the molecular structure of adhesives at the interface. …Read More

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