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Testing reveals benefits of G-Vent composites

Faster and more cost-effective manufacturing route for large marine structures.

30th March 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Stamford, CT, USA

Transport/​Aerospace, Industrial

Hexcel Corporation has developed a new technology for out-of-autoclave (OoA) composites production said to deliver a game-changing reduction in process time and cost without compromising mechanical performance.

Hexcel has leveraged its experience in aerospace and wind energy to develop the new G-Vent technology for the OoA processing of highly loaded, thick section marine structures such as masts, foils, and wind-assisted ship propulsion (WASP) components. The company’s full range of marine prepregs is now available with integrated G-Vent technology, reducing the requirement for debulking steps and ensuring extremely low porosity (<1%) irrespective of the laminate thickness.

To evaluate the new technology, Hexcel completed a test programme with QI Composites, a leader in non-destructive testing in performance marine applications. The programme evaluated HexPly 40-layer prepreg samples prepared with G-Vent technology. Carbon fibre panels made with no debulking revealed approximately three times less porosity than those using a typical ten-minute debulk with every second ply. Ultrasonic and CT scan analysis by QI Composites confirmed the void content results with porosity levels in line with state-of-the-art autoclaved carbon prepreg foils. Key tensile, compressive and interlaminar shear strength results were also higher for the G-Vent panels. 

“We evaluated the quality of thick laminates produced with G-Vent and found that they are comparable to laminates made in an autoclave as per best practice in the market,” said Stefano Beltrando, CEO at QI Composites. “Even more impressive is that they were achieved with no debulking.”

“We are absolutely delighted with the feedback from QI that confirms our own test data and positions G-Vent technology as a leading OoA process enabler for high-performance thick laminate structures,” added Tom James, business development manager at Hexcel. “G-Vent provides a faster and more cost-effective manufacturing route for large marine structures with absolutely no compromise in mechanical performance.”

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