Correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items at the Wilson Forum on Existing and Potential Applications of Composite Mater-ials in the Infrastructure, held March 11-12 in Burlingame, Calif. Fiber Technologies Inc. is ramping up production of fiber-reinforced-plastic, glued, laminated wood beams, known as FRP glulams, at plants in Drain and Swisshome, Ore.
Two business units of Akzo Nobel NV supply materials used to reinforce the beams, according to Leslie Cooke, who joined Fiber Technologies in September as technical director. The Fortafil Fibers Inc. unit of Knoxville, Tenn., supplies carbon fibers, and the Akzo Nobel Fibers Inc. unit in Conyers, Ga., supplies aramid fibers.
For a tension-only beam, the fiber-reinforced composite is sandwiched between the two lowest wood laminates in a glued stack.
If increased compression properties are needed, additional carbon fiber may be added between the two highest laminates. A FRP glulam beam can be 25-35 percent narrower than a regular glulam and carry the same load.
In October, the International Conference of Building Officials approved the technology, which Dan Tingley of Wood Science and Technology Institute in Corvallis, Ore., developed and licensed to Fiber Technologies. Oregon State University, also in Corvallis, tested and analyzed the technology during four years.
Western Wood Structures Inc. of Tualatin, Ore., developed proprietary design software that allows a contractor or distributor to custom design structural properties to meet loading requirements of an FRP glulam beam.
Hexcel Fyfe retrofits college parking deck
In a seismic retrofit program, Hexcel Fyfe Co. is wrapping carbon fiber on 176 rectangular columns in a five-level parking garage at San Francisco State University.
The $350,000 project in San Francisco began in mid-February and will be completed in April, according to Edward Fyfe, president. Amoco Corp.'s Performance Products unit supplied standard polyacrylonitrile-based carbon fiber for the job.
Earlier, Hexcel Fyfe wrapped glass fiber on columns of the second of three parking garage retrofit projects at San Diego State University. In the first garage, another contractor assembled a steel cage around each column and pumped Shotcrete into a reinforcement jacket. A third contract awaits funding.
Hexcel Fyfe Co. of San Diego is a joint venture of structural material supplier Hexcel Corp. of Pleasanton, Calif., and system provider Fyfe Associates in Del Mar, Calif.
Diab Group features bulking mat, panel
Diab Group displayed its new Pro-Matt print barrier/bulking mat and Pro-Balsa panel.
The spun-glass mat of thermoplastic microspheres creates a sandwich composite when saturated with resin and placed between a skin coat and laminate. The mat's print barrier can help a gelcoat surface look like a Class A finish. The XG type, a glass-fiber veil, behaves like chopped-strand mat and conforms to complex curves. The XP type, a mat made with randomly laid polyester fibers, has stronger pre-wet strength while retaining the XG characteristics.
David Reed, San Diego-based regional sales manager, said the 4-by-8-foot panels, which will be available this spring, have a balsawood core and a skin of 18-ounce knitted fiberglass fabric and polyester resin. The panels in thicknesses of one-half, three-fourths and 1 inch, will be marketed for transportation applications including bus floors, and boat floors and bulkheads.
Diab Group has its U.S. subsidiary in DeSoto, Texas, and corporate office in Laholm, Sweden.
Blanket maker aims for commercial sales
Benchmark Thermal Corp. exhibited its flexible heating blankets in an effort to expand into the commercial market, particularly for infrastructure uses.
As a full-line manufacturer of heaters, Benchmark supplies blankets, radiant panels, cartridge heaters and air process heaters, principally for the aerospace market, said President Gil Mathew. The blankets range in size from 6 by 6 inches to 36 by 55 inches and can be used to control curing of advanced composites.
Benchmark, in Grass Valley, Calif., employs 55.
California consortium plans to incorporate
A new California-based consortium of contractors, material suppliers, military and government agency officials and university researchers is seeking to complete incorporation this spring, according to Brian Wilson, president of Wilson Composite Group Inc., a consulting firm in Folsom, Calif.
Known as Comstruct, the consortium aims to unify makers of fiber and resin systems and increase uses of polymers and advanced composites across a broad base of civil engineering applications.