Polyurethane composites can take the pressure

New RTM process combined with Bayer polyurethane produces better pressurized composite gas storage vessels faster

Las Cruces, N.M., August 15, 2012 — The transportation industry's increasing interest in alternative fuel vehicles raises a challenge to efficiently mass produce high-pressure storage vessels for fuels such as hydrogen and natural gas.

New research demonstrates that a Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) manufacturing process combined with a customizable composite polyurethane system can accelerate production times over the traditional filament winding process/epoxy approach for producing pressurized storage vessels. The RTM/polyurethane approach results in shorter cycle times of less than 20 minutes and provides improved damage tolerance with excellent fatigue and mechanical properties.

Profile Composites CEO Geoffrey Wood is highlighting test results demonstrating these and other advantages of the RTM process during his presentation, "A new methodology for damage-tolerant composites applied to composite pressurized vessels" Wednesday, Aug. 15, during Composites Conference 2012.

Profile Composites is the lead innovator on the project with funding assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Energy and currently the U.S. Department of Transportation. Project support is provided by A&P Technology, Bayer MaterialScience LLC, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, Parker Hannifin and Toray Carbon Fibers America. Bayer provided the polyurethane resin and also material processing support.

"The properties of Bayer's customized polyurethane resin allowed us to achieve a controlled viscosity during the resin injection cycle, and rapid initialization and cure, as well as excellent fatigue and damage tolerance properties," Wood said. "We're delighted to be working with Bayer and our other collaborators on this advanced technology."

Standard filament winding uses a single wet fiber pre-coated with a resin to methodically wrap a spinning mandrel end-to-end. The quicker RTM process deploys a completely dry one-piece fiber mat or mesh to wrap the mandrel or mold, followed by a brief, one-shot resin injection process.

The technology is being demonstrated for vessels with capacities ranging from 7.5 to 40 liters. Potential applications include use in automotive and aerospace vehicles that require high-pressure hydraulic fluid and pneumatic gas storage. After successfully demonstrating the repeatability and process quality of this technology, the next stage is obtaining performance and certification standards before commercialization, according to Wood.

Hosted by Materials Knowledge Foundation and NASA White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Composites Conference 2012 brings together NASA and other U.S. federal agencies, the composites industry, and the international community for discussion of significant advances in the performance, durability and safety of composite pressurized structures and vessels. It is being held Aug. 13-17.

About Bayer MaterialScience LLC:

Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with approximately 14,800 employees at 30 production sites around the world and 2011 sales of 10.8 billion euros. Bayer MaterialScience's 2011 sales in North America were $2.9 billion. The company manufactures high-tech polymer materials and develops innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical, and sports and leisure industries. Sustainability is central to Bayer MaterialScience LLC's business and is based around the key areas of innovation, product stewardship, excellence in corporate management, social responsibility and respect for the environment.


Thomas Erdner, Phone: 412-777-5200
Email: thomas.erdner@bayer.com

For more information about Bayer MaterialScience's polyurethane technology, call 412-777-7454 or visit www.bmsnafta.com.

For more information about coatings from Profile Composites, visit www.profilecomposites.com.

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