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Disco-Tex being considered for various applications
Dec '10
Carbon composites are commonly used in the aerospace, automotive, sports equipment and medical fields, among others, to form specialized parts which previously had been made from heavier materials. But these carbon composites are typically made with fabrics having continuous fibers which present certain problems in production, such as the need to cut and dart the fabric when forming a complex, curved part. As a result, many desired, complex-shaped parts have not been produced due the costs of mass production.

In response to these industry needs, Pepin Associates, Inc., of Greenville, Maine has patented a formable textile which uses aligned, discontinuous carbon fibers. The fibers are able to slip relative to one another, giving the fabric unique stretching and forming capacities. Disco-Tex also may be woven from non-carbon materials such glass, quartz and ceramics.

Disco-Tex has been developed with the aerospace industry as its primary target market, and it has been used to make demonstration parts for military aircraft. But the weight-saving and stretch-forming capacity of Disco-Tex is now being considered for application in other areas. Pepin Associates met recently with the University of Maine to investigate uses of this material for the next generation of composite solutions for various applications. Pepin Associates and the University of Maine intend to explore whether Disco-Tex could be used to form more complex shapes than is possible with traditional composite materials. This could enable broader use of composites in applications currently limited by material conformability.

Officials from the Maine Composites Alliance (MCA) met with Pepin Associates officials in December to discuss how Disco-Tex® material might be used in boatbuilding applications, where carbon composites are common. Maine Composites Alliance (MCA) Executive Director Steve Van Vogt invited Pepin Associates to present applications for Disco-Tex® at an executive seminar series sponsored by the MCA in Portland, Maine in March 2011.

Pepin Associates is also working with the automotive industry to explore the use of Disco-Tex in certain applications. Considering the time savings which Disco-Tex can create in production versus traditional materials, Disco-Tex aligned, non-continuous carbon fiber reinforced fabric may have application in many more fields in the future.

Pepin Associates Inc

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