Have you ever wondered how aircraft interiors and Formula 1 cars are so stiff and light? The secret is sandwich panels. Sandwich panels are used whenever lightness and stiffness are required for a flat or irregular shape. The main theory behind sandwich panels is the concept of mass moment of inertia. Increasing the mass moment of inertia directly increases the stiffness. So how do you increase the mass moment of inertia while keeping weight down?
First, let's consider a solid carbon fiber plate. Thicker plates will be stiffer, but not just because there is more material. When layers are further from the center (commonly called the neutral axis) they contribute more stiffness. Consider two tubes of different diameter. The large diameter tube will be stiffer than the small diameter tube, even if the amount of materials in them is equal! This is because the larger diameter tube has more material further from the center.
An I-beam works using the same principal. The web of the I-beam (the skinny center section) holds the flanges (the end pieces) far from the center, making the beam much stiffer than a solid plate using the amount of material. (See Figure 1.)
So, we know a thick plate will be stiffer but we need something lightweight. That's when the sandwich comes in. When a plate bends, the outermost layers don't just add the most stiffness, they also take a majority of the load. Both faces will experience stress with one in compression and one in tension. Strangely enough, the center of a bending plate sees no stress at all! Therefore, if we know the center layers of a plate don't contribute much we can eliminate them and replace them with foam or honeycomb.
Replacing the center layers reduces overall stiffness a little bit, bringing us right back to the mass moment of inertia by effectively moving the load carrying materials (also referred t as the panel "skins") further from the neutral axis. If we make the core thicker we've increased the mass moment of inertia and increased the bending stiffness and strength. If we add more layers we can also increase the strength and stiffness since we add more materials far from the center, and we can distribute the load over more cross-section. Getting the thickness right results in a panel that is considerably lighter than an equivalent solid panel. Rock West Composites offers sandwich panels in a multitude of thicknesses and constructions to suit your needs. And as always, if we don't have it shoot us an email or give us a call and we CAN build it for you!
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rock West Composites Moves Into Its New San Diego Headquarters
Rock West Composites moved this month to its new corporate headquarters, a 107,000 sq. ft. facility in San Diego, California. The company is expanding to accommodate new staff, add manufacturing space, grow capability for large-scale composites manufacturing, and meet the needs of its expanding business.
San Diego, CA (PRWEB) February ##, 2021 – Rock West Composites (RWC) has moved this month into its new corporate headquarters at 7625 Panasonic Way in San Diego, California, a facility more than three times larger than its previous headquarters. While the company retains its locations in Salt Lake City, UT and Tijuana, Mexico, RWC’s former San Diego location on Precision Park Lane will be vacated in favor of the new building.
With 107,000 sq. ft. of total space, there is 20,000 sq. ft. of office space, 80,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space, and an additional 7,000 sq. ft. for general warehouse use. The entire space is not fully utilized, and the company is positioned for significant growth. This building will house the corporate offices, engineering, product development, and manufacturing centered around prototyping and production.
The plant will be able to accommodate large scale composites production and significant new capital equipment with the intention of growing the company’s already expansive capabilities to meet the space requirements of the expanding business. Its location is also close to the border with easy access to the company’s Tijuana plant, which specializes in high-volume production. The new facility has an adaptive infrastructure that allows for rapid refitting of manufacturing areas to accommodate new program requirements. There are clean room areas with varying levels of classification to accommodate customer needs.
“We are excited to start the new year in our new location,” said Jim Gormican, CEO of Rock West Composites. “As our company
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rock West Composites Adds “Build Your Own Tube” Feature to Its Online Offering This month Rock West Composites has added a feature on its website allowing customers to define their own filament wound tube specifications, enabling a build-to-order ecommerce transaction with immediate check out. Currently 75 mandrels and two materials are available with three distinct performance characteristics and nearly infinite wall thickness options.
Salt Lake City, UT (PRWEB) February 8, 2021 – This month Rock West Composites (RWC) announces the addition of a Build Your Own Tube feature to its website. The tool allows the customer to define specific attributes they need for their custom tube, provides a range of pricing based on the volume of the order, and then allows for immediate check out. It is fast and easy for customers who know exactly what they need but can’t find an off-the-shelf solution.
The customer can define the interior diameter, wall thickness, tube length, material, and key performance characteristic of their custom tube order. Current materials available include intermediate modulus carbon fiber and fiberglass (E-glass). Performance characteristics include bending stiffness, torque, and internal pressure. Tubes are manufactured using the filament winding process. Checkout is processed as soon as the customer is ready, and shipping is handled separately. In addition to the 450 base options currently available, tubes can be customized even further by specifying almost any wall thickness. RWC has plans to further expand the selection. This is only a small fraction of the off-the-self and customization options that RWC can offer customers.
“Our customers have asked for the ability to get fast pricing for custom work and easy checkout via our website, and this is answering that request,” said Dave Erickson, General Manager of the Salt Lake City facility. “Ecommerce innovation is how we grow our business and help our
Rock West has one of the most extensive offerings of prepreg on the market - over 25 material options. Even better, you can purchase by the linear yard - no minimum quantities! Of course, the more you buy, the better the price so feel free to pick up a whole roll.
Since prepregs begin to cure once out of the freezer, our materials can be shipped with dry ice to protect your purchase if you choose it. In fact, we recommend it. If you need further verification that the material wasn't compromised during the shipping process, we also offer a temperature recorder. If you require certifications, we have supplier-provided Material Certifications and RWC-provided Certificates of Conformance.
We highly recommend expedited shipping, and while we can ship over the weekend, we do not recommend it due to the risk of missed delivery. During the order process you can ask us to hold the shipment until the following business day just to be sure if arrives on a work day.
If you aren't sure about the best material for your project, we offer sample packs so you can get a variety of 6" x 6" swatches. Our materials include:
Standard Modulus Carbon Fiber Unidirectional Prepregs
Standard Modulus Carbon Fiber Woven Prepregs
Intermediate Modulus Carbon Fiber Prepregs
High Modulus Carbon Fiber Prepregs
Fiberglass Prepregs (Uni & Fabric)
Other Prepregs & Film Adhesives
So take advantage of all the best prepreg offerings on the market, for your prototypes and other small projects.
Buying from RWC is more cost effective due to minimum buys and shelf life. And since we turn over the prepreg at a regular pace for most materials, our materials are current and almost always in stock.
*Please keep in mind that all prepreg sales are final, and we do not refund or accept returns on this product. We do not offer outlive tracking
You are about to drop several hundred dollars on a new cell phone. Your significant other suggests that you protect your investment with a carbon fiber case. But you remember reading an article suggesting that carbon fiber cases mess with cell phone reception. Now you're stuck.
Is it true? Does carbon fiber really interfere with cell phone signals? If it does, you might be trading a bit of extra protection for decent signal strength. If not, there is no reason to avoid a carbon fiber case that could save your phone at some point.
Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer. Some people insist that carbon fiber is bad for cell phones based on principles developed by scientist Michael Faraday back in the 1800s. Others insist they have used carbon fiber cases for years with no adverse effects. So who's right? Perhaps both camps are.
Carbon Fiber and the Faraday Cage
Those who insist carbon fiber is not a good material for phone cases base their assumptions on what is known as the Faraday cage. Named after the previously mentioned scientist, a Faraday cage is an enclosure capable of blocking electromagnetic signals. It does so by utilizing a conductive material to distributes signals inside so that they cancel similar signals outside.
Faraday's principles dictate that electromagnetic fields can neither penetrate nor escape a Faraday cage. If we apply the principles to cell phone signals, the problem becomes clear.
Carbon fiber is a conductive material. As the thinking goes, it prevents the receiver in your cell phone from communicating with a local cell phone tower. The phone case essentially works as a tiny Faraday cage. But if that were true, a carbon fiber case should make a cell phone completely inoperable. Right? Not necessarily.
Not Full Enclosures
Those who swear by carbon fiber phone cases insist that Faraday's principles do not apply because a phone case is not a full enclosure. In other words, the only way a Faraday cage works is by completely
As a leading provider of composite materials in Salt Lake City, we frequently sell products to home fabricators. This includes glass and carbon fiber fabrics, tubes, plates, epoxy resins, and even adhesives. Working with any of these materials does pose some amount of risk to human health. As such, we recommend our home fabricating customers be smart about using personal protective equipment (PPE).
The pros use appropriate PPE whenever working with carbon or glass fiber. We use PPE at all of our facilities. If you are a home fabricator, you should too. Do not take any chances with your health. There is no valid reason to risk injury when a few pieces of PPE will keep you safe. We recommend the following four types of PPE:
1. Protective Clothing
At the top of the list is protective clothing that will keep both carbon and glass fibers from contacting the skin. The fibers can be irritating to the skin even among people who don't normally have reactions to potentially irritating materials. Why? Because both glass and carbon fibers are extremely small. If they get stuck to the skin, they can irritate pretty easily.
Protective clothing should include long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. A hat and work boots are also advised. After working with glass or carbon fiber, your protective clothing should be washed. Do not hang it up dirty and reuse it later as you run the risk of transferring fibers stuck on the clothing onto your skin.
2. Nitrile and Work Gloves
Next, we recommend two different types of gloves. During the fabrication stage, use nitrile gloves to prevent contact with epoxy resin and loose carbon and glass fibers. Nitrile gloves do the job and are very inexpensive. Best of all, they are disposable. That means you do not have to try to clean your gloves after handling epoxy.
Post fabrication, we recommend a pair of heavy-duty work gloves to protect your hands during grinding, cutting, sanding, etc. The purpose here is to protect your hands against any