NEWS
19 Sep 05
Huntsman speakers present first practical guidelines for pultruding urethane composites

Paper at Composites 2005 Details How-To Use Polyurethane Resins to Achieve Higher Composite Strength, Durability, Line Speeds for Pultruded Profiles

Auburn Hills (Detroit), Mich. — A new family of pultrusion-grade polyurethane resins offers superior mechanical performance, the potential for faster line speeds, and improved secondary finishing with less waste compared to traditional resin families.  Because of their excellent physical properties, these polyurethane systems provide the opportunity for pultruders to redesign parts to be lower cost, thinner and lighter weight at equivalent stiffness.  Once OEMs and processors understand polyurethane process techniques, they can take advantage of the numerous benefits offered by these high-performing materials. 

For the first time, authors from the Urethane Composites team at Huntsman Polyurethanes ( www.huntsman.com/pu/) will provide processors with practical guidelines for using urethane resins in a robust pultrusion process in a technical presentation at the Composites 2005 conference in Columbus, Ohio, September 28-30.

Applications for pultruded composites using traditional resins may be restricted due to brittleness and durability or by reaction speeds, which in turn affect productivity and therefore profits on the pultrusion line.  To mitigate these limitations, manufacturers seeking to expand their markets and differentiate their product offerings are evaluating polyurethanes and are beginning to use them commercially.
 
Huntsman Speakers Present New Guidelines

According to Michael Connolly, Ph.D., product manager, Urethane Composites, and the paper’s lead author, “We’re making this presentation at an important industry gathering to show industry experts how to best take advantage of the many benefits polyurethane resins o ffer.  We aim to make three key points.  First, all new resins have their own unique set of processing and handling characteristics and these need to be mastered to unlock optimum profile production.  Our paper provides practical guidelines on processing polyurethanes including metering equipment, injection-box and die design, die temperatures, and material handling to give processors a solid basis for pultruding moderately complex profiles.  Second, we have found that the neat material properties of polyurethanes are not highly differentiated from other high performing resins.

However, a wonderful synergy develops when you add polyurethane resin to glass roving and mat.  Part of this synergy lies in urethane’s excellent wetting efficiency, and hence low void content, low shrinkage, and strong adhesion to the glass reinforcement.  As a result, there can be significant property improvements over traditional resins that open the door to entirely new applications and market segments.  In fact, there is potential for producing still higher performing urethane composites when optimized glass sizing is exploited.  Third, our cost models reveal the potential for cost and weight savings – pressures almost every designer and processor struggles with these days – by redesigning the profile geometry and reinforcement construction. 

Recently, several pultrusion manufacturers and resin suppliers have reported achieving two-times higher transverse strength, higher impact resistance, and better tolerance to machining and fasteners in urethane pultrusions vs. comparable components in traditional resins.  In some cases, line speeds in excess of 2-meters (79-inches) per minute have been reported.  Since urethane profiles offer substantially higher strength than traditional pultruded composites, in some cases they can be fabricated solely with glass rovings rather than a combination of continuous-strand glass mat an d rovings.  In this case, longitudinal stiffness will increase while maintaining transverse strength.  This change helps reduce cost and greatly simplifies the guidance system for reinforcements.  Urethane profiles may alternately be redesigned and produced with thinner walls at constant stiffness vs. traditional profiles.

“Armed with the information we’ll present at Composites 2005,” concluded Connolly, “We hope manufacturers will gain further confidence that they can produce high-quality, high-strength urethane profiles.  We expect that this will lead to increased specification of pultrusion-grade urethanes.”
Huntsman pultrusion-grade RIMLine® polyurethane resins are available for use in a wide range of applications, including complex fenestration profiles (window lineals and architectural moldings), sporting goods, and structural shapes.
 
Huntsman Speakers Present New Guidelines

COMPOSITES 2005, organized by the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA), is the largest composites event in North America. It covers composite technologies in a wide range of market segments, and targets OEMs, processors, toolmakers, suppliers, distributors, and those involved in regulatory compliance.  For more information, see www.acmashow.org/home.cfm.

For technical or commercial information on Huntsman’s pultrusion-grade RIMLine® polyurethane resins, contact the company at Huntsman Polyurethanes, 2190 Executive Hills Boulevard, Auburn Hills, Michigan  48326, USA, or call +1.248.322.7300, or see www.huntsman.com/pu/ .

Huntsman is a global manufacturer and marketer of commodity and differentiated chemicals. Its operating companies manufacture basic products for a variety of global industries including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, textiles, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances, and packaging. Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging, and later rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, Huntsman today has revenues of $11.5 billion, 11,300 employees, and 62 operations in 22 countries.

® RIMLine is a Registered Trademark of Huntsman International LLC.

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