3M Matrix Resin Extends Composite Cylinder Parameters

| USA, St Paul MN | Source: Fleets&Fuels

“A game-changing technology” says Rick Maveus, 3M Global Business Manager

3M Engineered Products and Solutions, a department within the 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division, has launched a line of matrix resins for filament winding of carbon fiber composites, a new generation of filament winding resin systems for stronger, lighter, more durable composites.  As the resin in a fiber-reinforced pressure vessel, such as a compressed natural gas (CNG) cylinder, the new product reportedly has demonstrated significant improvements compared to competing resins. 3M says the resins will allow users to redefine how long pressure vessels last, how light they are, and how they are designed.

Vic Genco, General Manager, 3M Engineered Products and Solutions said, “The technology has applications for companies in a multitude of industries, including aerospace, manufacturing, transportation, fleet, and more. 3M’s new system can help reduce material usage, improve strength and allow a longer life for products.”

The resin offers particularly strong promise in the area of transportation, where pressure vessels for natural gas and hydrogen vehicles can benefit from extended life and improved fuel efficiency through lower weights that the resin allows.

In third-party testing performed by HyPerComp Engineering (HEI)  in Utah, pressure vessels made with the new 3M resin were compared with pressure vessels made with traditional bisphenol-A epoxy. The 3M vessels provided more than 6 percent increase in fiber delivered strength, a 30 percent increase in burst pressure after impact and a 55 percent average increase in fatigue life.

HEI also reports that no matter the parameter explored — ultimate burst performance, cycle performance or robustness — the resin resulted in significant increased performance over baseline materials.

James Patterson, President, HyPerComp Engineering, Inc. explained, “I’ve been in this business for 30 years and I’ve never seen a step change in the resin technology,” continued Patterson. “3M’s resin changes that and could very well revolutionize the industry.”

The product is based on the existing 3M™ Matrix Resin platform, a proprietary resin technology that enables the production of stronger, lighter, and more durable composites. With this technology, manufacturers can avoid the traditional tradeoff between toughness/flexibility and stiffness / hardness. The resin helps improve performance properties on both ends of the scale.

3M’s Janet Kirkman, commercialization marketing,  told Fleets&Fuels (F&F) the nanoparticle fill “helps improve the load-sharing between the fibers. The particles help move the load to the fibers, help them share the load.”

No one is yet manufacturing CNG cylinders using the nanosilica-filled 3M product, called simply 3M Matrix Resin. “We’re seeking commercialization partners,” says Rick Maveus, global business development manager for 3M advanced composites, who predicts partnership announcements in the coming weeks. Partners will support certification work, he says.

Maveus says that by reducing weigh the filled resin will help designers shift from economical Type I cylinders to lightweight Type IIIs and Type IVs. “It’s in our opinion a game-changing technology,” he told F&F.

This article primarily compiled using information from a 3M press release.