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IDEKO presents its latest technological advances in composites at the 14th MATCOMP 2022 Congress

IDEKO presents its latest technological advances in composites at the 14th MATCOMP 2022 Congress
  • The research centre had a major participation at the 14th edition of the Biennial Congress on Composite Materials (MATCOMP 2022) held in Seville from 21 to 23 June.
  • At the congress, IDEKO presented three technical papers on composite materials and exhibited an automatically laminated and infused out-of-autoclave (OoA) NCF carbon skin and stringer structure.
  • The event, organised by AEMAC (Spanish Association of Composite Materials) and the University of Seville, aims to promote research and the use of composite materials, of great value for demanding sectors such as aeronautics.

Research into and development of composites is an area of great importance for critical sectors such as aeronautics, wind power, shipbuilding, etc. because it makes the design of new high-strength materials possible to meet certain needs or respond to specific mechanical properties, such as tensile, compressive or impact strength. Their lightweight property makes them also suitable materials for solutions in areas such as transport or sustainable mobility.

To highlight the importance of research into these materials for industry, the 14th edition of the Biennial Composite Materials Congress (MATCOMP) 2022, the most important event for the scientific, academic and business community in the field of composites, was held from 21 to 23 June in Seville, jointly organised by the Spanish Association of Composite Materials (AEMAC) and the University of Seville. This year, amid celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the congress, attended by more than 200 speakers and some 300 participants spread out over three days, the focus lay on the role of industry in the development of composite materials.

With more than a decade of research and development in composites, the research centre IDEKO, a member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA), played an important role in the event with the exhibition of a piece made with these materials and the presentation of technical papers, as well as being one of the official sponsors of the congress.

This expertise has enabled it to become a benchmark in the formulation of new resins, and in the development, monitoring and characterisation of automated processes related to the lamination of dry fabrics, preforming, impregnation of fibres by liquid moulding - resin infusion and transfer (RTM) - as well as the manufacture of prepregs and ultraviolet (UV) cured composites.

IDEKO, a benchmark in composites

Specifically, during the congress, the research centre presented to the public an integral skin and stringer structure with NCF (Non-Crimp-Fabric) type carbon, automatically laminated and infused out-of-autoclave (OoA), whose manufacturing technology is focused on the aeronautical sector.

Lamination of stacks with dry, unconsolidated NCF material allows the production of complex geometries by integrating several elements and functions into a single structure. In this particular case, three T-shaped stringers were formed and placed on the wing skin. The resin distribution in the dry preform benefits from the permeability of the NCF producing parts with low porosity, no dry areas and an optimal fibre fraction, without the need for autoclaving.  

In this field, in recent years IDEKO has collaborated with the Foundation for Research, Development and Application of Composite Materials (FIDAMC) developing innovative composite processes based mainly on the use of dry carbon fibres.

Also at the MATCOMP 2022, several members of IDEKO presented technical papers on applications of composites for different sectors. The first of these, entitled "Control of the manufacturing process of fibreglass prepregs and ultraviolet curing resin",which was given by Javier Vallejo, researcher in manufacturing processes at IDEKO, focused on the control of the impregnation of the reinforcements in the manufacturing process of fibreglass composites with ultraviolet curing resin, for application in sectors such as the automotive and railway industries.

Fibre-reinforced polymer composites are very lightweight materials, capable of reducing weight while maintaining optimised capabilities for multiple applications, but with a major handicap in terms of fire properties. In this respect, the second paper, "Study of the influence of flame retardant additives on UV-cured thermosetting composites", presented by researcher Natalia Gutierrez from the IDEKO research centre, analysed the most suitable types of flame retardant additives and their possible synergistic combinations to improve the fire behaviour of UV-cured composites. This work has been carried out in collaboration with the GAIKER research centre.

Finally, the third and last talk "Panels manufactured by UV curing of out-of-autoclave prepregs reinforced with UV pultrusion profiles", demonstrated the potential of UV curing technology applied to glass fibre reinforced composites. This research has been carried out in collaboration with the Mondragon University (MU).

"Thanks to the integration of UV curing technologies and pultrusion, we have managed to manufacture different profiles of curved parts without the need for additional operations / fixtures, cutting down on development and manufacturing time" explained Jon Aurrekoetxea, researcher at the Department of Mechanics and Industrial Production of the Faculty of Engineering of Mondragon University, during his dissertation.