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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research projects > Previous projects > New Products and Materials > Electron beam curing of composites for the transportation industry
Graphic element Electron beam curing of composites for the transportation industry
     
 
Electron beam curing has been demonstrated in non-military, surface transportation applications, allowing cost reductions and increased quality compared to heat curing.
 

Composite resin systems, including polyester with different fibre reinforcements, are used in a wide variety of modern applications. Electron beam curing of composites, a process specifically developed for military applications, has been applied successfully in the aerospace industry. Compared to conventional heat curing methods, electron beam curing results in more flexible resin systems and allows shorter polymerisation cycles, simplified tooling and reduced energy consumption.

This project was intended to demonstrate the utility of electron beam curing in non-military, surface transportation applications. Several resin systems were considered, including polyester, epoxy and BMI with glass and carbon fibre reinforcement. Three different prototypes were manufactured: a 10-meter-long boat hull, a train bogie and a helicopter swash-plate part, all demonstrating cost reductions when compared to heat curing production.

According to project partners, this was the first time such large parts were produced using this method, giving Europe a clear competitive edge in a state-of-the-art technology. Furthermore, in the case of polyester resin, electron beam polymerisation processing means reduced exposure to styrene monomers, a major heath advantage compared to standard thermal processes. A follow-up project is currently in preparation.

Cordis RCN: 30993
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