Category Archive: Uncategorized

What Is FRP Material?

Fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) is a composite material characterized by its robustness and versatility. It is an important material in numerous construction and civil engineering applications, including electrical insulation, structural components, bearing and wear applications, and metal substitutes. To see if it’s the right material for your project, learn more about the characteristics of FRP material and how it is made.

FRP Material Characteristics

FRP is a composite material that consists of a polymer matrix and reinforcing fibers, typically glass or carbon. This unique blend offers an effective alternative to traditional materials like wood, steel, or aluminum, which can degrade over time. FRP is renowned for its strength, lightweight nature, and corrosion resistance, making it a prime choice for many applications.

FRP material offers an impressive array of features that cater to a wide range of industrial needs:

  • Corrosion resistance: This makes FRP perfect for harsh environmental conditions.
  • High strength-to-weight ratio: FRP is ideal for applications requiring durability without the added weight.
  • Parts consolidation and design flexibility: Because of its strength, lightness, low thermal conductivity, and other properties, FRP can replace multiple materials and fasteners in an assembly, improving design flexibility.
  • Radar transparency: Glass-fiber-reinforced plastics are transparent to radar equipment, so they are often used in enclosures or canopies to hide communications devices in buildings.
  • Fire characteristics: FRP can be engineered to meet various fire codes in building construction.
  • Non-conductivity: FRP made with glass fibers are non-conductive and often used as electrical insulation.
  • Dimensional stability: Many FRP materials can be engineered to have a zero coefficient of thermal expansion, meaning they will not expand or contract as the temperature changes.
  • Production repeatability: FRP products have good consistency across high-volume production runs.
  • Customizable appearance: The composite material can be designed to meet any aesthetic requirement.

How Is FRP Material Made?

FRP is made through pultrusion, which melds raw fibers and resin to forge a composite with the strength of steel but without the high weight. The pultrusion process is as follows:

  1. Material selection: First, the appropriate fibers and resin are selected. The choice depends on the application’s requirements, like strength, flexibility, corrosion resistance, and thermal insulation. Fibers could be glass, carbon, or aramid, each offering distinct properties to the composite. The resin, acting as the matrix, could be polyester, vinyl ester, or epoxy, based on the environmental resistance required and the mechanical properties desired.
  2. Mold or tool preparation: A mold or tool must be prepared. This step is crucial as it defines the FRP’s dimensions, shape, and surface finish. Molds can be made from metal, composite, or plastic, and they must be cleaned and coated to prepare for resin infusion.
  3. Layup or preform process: During this stage, the fibers are laid out or pre-formed according to the direction and orientation needed for optimal strength and performance in the final product.
  4. Infusion: The laid-out fibers are infused with resin, ensuring every fiber is thoroughly saturated. This process is critical for creating a cohesive and uniform material where the resin matrix supports the fibers, providing strength and durability.
  5. Curing: After the fibers are infused with resin, the composite needs to be cured—a process that solidifies the resin, binding the fibers into a solid mass. This step can occur at room temperature or be accelerated using heat. The curing process transforms the soft and malleable resin-fiber mixture into a rigid and sturdy material that retains its shape under physical stress.
  6. Finishing: The final stage involves applying the necessary finishes to the FRP, like trimming, drilling, painting, or coating for aesthetic purposes or additional protection. This process guarantees the FRP meets the specific requirements for its use.

FRP From WS Hampshire

FRP offers a unique blend of strength, versatility, and durability. Its unique characteristics make it an ideal choice for many applications, from infrastructure projects to innovative designs in the automotive industry. With over 100 years in the nonmetallic materials fabrication industry, WS Hampshire is a leading provider of FRP materials, Ryertex® and EXTREN® product lines.

Contact us or request a quote to discover how our expertise and products can meet your specific needs.

What Are Thermoset Materials?

Thermosets are insoluble, polymer-based materials with high-temperature melting points. Typically possessing superior strength compared to that of thermoplastics, thermoset materials undergo a chemical reaction at a certain temperature and reach a solid state upon curing. From that point on, the properties of these synthetic composites are “set,” resulting in materials that are unlikely to deform or degrade.

Thermosets have a strong structure of interconnected molecules; upon heating, these molecules develop irreversible bonds. Should you reheat thermoset plastics, they will char or burn rather than melt or take on their original characteristics. While this prevents remolding, it lends a high degree of mechanical strength to components with thermoset construction. Learn more about these materials, their properties, and potential applications.

Thermoset Materials

When selecting the right thermoset composite materials for your project, there are multiple high-performance options to choose from. Common examples of thermosetting materials include the use of the following:

Resin

  • Phenolic
  • Epoxy
  • Melamine
  • Polyester
  • Polyurethane
  • Silicone

Substrates

  • Paper
  • Canvas
  • Linen
  • Fiberglass
  • Aramid

Thermoset Properties

Thermoset materials have many advantageous properties that make them ideal for widespread applications. These properties include:

  • Superior mechanical strength. Thermosetting plastic materials typically feature enhanced mechanical properties. Their beneficial stiffness along with their high compressive and tensile strength lend these materials to applications requiring load-bearing or structural components.
  • Lasting dimensional stability. Thermosets retain a consistent size and shape after curing, keeping them dimensionally stable for use in applications necessitating precise manufacturing and engineering.
  • Resistance to high temperatures. One of the main benefits of thermoset plastics is their thermal resistance capabilities under high temperature exposure. They won’t soften or otherwise deform, which is particularly helpful for electronic and automotive applications that experience high heat.
  • Resistance to chemicals. Thermoset plastic materials often possess high chemical resistance, allowing them to withstand corrosion even when they come into direct contact with such substances.
  • Being electrically insulative. Many electrical applications use these materials to provide sufficient component insulation and protection. They help prevent arcing and keep the flow of electrical current from where it’s not intended to be. In applications like power lines and transformers, thermosets can reduce the risk of fires.

Applications of Thermoset Materials

Thermoset materials have a wide range of applications across diverse industries. Some common examples include the following:

  • Aerospace. Lighter air- and spacecraft perform better and use less fuel. Lightweight yet strong, thermosets are an optimal choice for manufacturing aerospace components.
  • Automotive. Brake pads, engine parts, and exterior chassis components often utilize thermoset materials because of their superior durability and ability to withstand high temperatures.
  • Construction. Adhesives, coatings, and composite reinforcements are among the different types of construction materials made with thermoset plastics. These applications benefit from the durable materials’ resistance to corrosive chemicals and heat.
  • Electronics. Electronic circuits and parts rely on thermoset materials for protection and insulation, keeping equipment consistently safe from moisture and heat buildup.
  • Healthcare. Thermoset materials are typically biocompatible, making lasting medical implants and devices that won’t react when they come into contact with the human body.
  • Sports equipment. Anything from bicycle frames to golf clubs can benefit from thermoset plastics’ good strength-to-weight ratio and wear resistance.
  • Heavy Industry. Bearings, Bushings, Structural & Wear Components. Replaces traditionally used metals like steel, brass, bronze.

Thermoset Materials and Components From WS Hampshire

The right thermoset material will offer high-quality fabrication solutions for your product, resisting heat, chemical corrosion, and general wear. At WS Hampshire, we specialize in the custom fabrication of Ryertex Thermosets and Timco Technical Thermoplastics for industrial applications. Our Ryertex brand of thermosets consists of multiple fiber-reinforced plastic composite options. Since their introduction in the 1930s, these materials have been particularly helpful as electrical insulators and in high-temperature, -speed, or -load applications as an alternative to metal components for resisting wear.

Since the 1890s, WS Hampshire has combined innovative and reliable non-metallic materials, our team’s technical expertise, and a suite of comprehensive services to deliver valuable solutions and high-quality components to our customers. It’s our goal to help you reduce operational downtime and costs. Contact us today to learn more about our thermoset material options and our production capabilities for supporting your unique operation.

What Is an Industrial Laminate?

Industrial laminates are used in a wide range of commercial and industrial applications. WS Hampshire specializes in laminate fabrication, and our Ryertex® composite laminates and TIMCO Technical Plastics brands are known as the best in the industry. From electrical circuit boards and structural panels to bearings, bushings, and wear parts, our industrial laminates deliver reliable performance across diverse industries.

Overview of Industrial Laminates

Industrial laminates are created by stacking multiple layers of materials, typically with a decorative layer on top and a supportive substrate on the bottom. The middle layers may be fabric, paper, or glass fibers bonded together with high-quality thermosetting resins. By combining specific substrates and resins, you can produce properties that aren’t present in the individual substrates or resins alone.

The resulting sheet material is durable and features high mechanical strength, electrical insulation, machinability, and more. The materials used to create the industrial laminate vary by application and the associated demands placed upon the thermoset composite. These applications include:

  • Bearings
  • Electrical transformers
  • Fixtures
  • Gears
  • Jigs
  • Thermal breaks

Benefits of Industrial Laminates

Industrial laminates are trusted because of their unique and customizable characteristics. With the right combination of phenolic, melamine, silicone, or epoxy resin and substrates like canvas, paper, linen, aramid, or fiberglass, you can customize your laminate solution to fit the specific demands of the application. When aesthetics matter, the laminate can include a decorative top layer. Other benefits include:

  • Durability: Industrial laminates can withstand heavy use without deforming or showing signs of wear. They’re lightweight relative to their strength.
  • Chemical Resistance: Certain laminates can be safely and reliably used in environments where they’re exposed to chemicals.
  • Impact Resistance: Industrial laminates are known for their impact resistance and are commonly applications such as steel rolling mills.
  • Machinability: Industrial laminates are easy to work with and are easily machined to suit specific applications and environments.
  • Electrical Insulation: This prized characteristic makes industrial laminates suitable for a range of electromechanical applications.

Ryertex Industrial Laminates

Originally known as Bakelite, Ryertex is a group of phenolic thermoset laminate products that were first developed in 1907 by Leo Baekeland. Ryertex has evolved over the years and is now used in everything from electronics to heavy equipment. Traditional applications using Ryertex include buttons, frying pan handles, and telephone mouthpieces. Today, the Ryertex® family of fiber-reinforced plastic composites include a variety of substrate and resin combinations for mechanical, electrical, and heavy industrial applications like bearings, wear liners, structural components, and electrical insulation.

We also offer other phenolic composite materials, such as Arboron, Resiten, TOPLAB® PLUS, TOPLAB® BASE, TOPLAB® VERTICAL, and Virtuon® sheets.

Rely on WS Hampshire for Industrial Laminate Fabrication

As a custom fabricator of industrial laminate composites, WS Hampshire has worked with companies in a variety of industries, including paper and lumber processing, oil and gas, forestry, wire and cable, mining equipment, material handling, food and beverage packaging and processing, and more. We have global access to raw materials, and with our extensive capabilities, there is no limit to the sizes, shapes, quantities, and materials that we can produce. We’re here to help with your most complex challenges.

Contact us today to learn more about industrial laminate fabrication, or request a quote for your project.

What is Aeroponics?

Aeroponics is a technique used for indoor cultivation in a controlled environment.  There is no growing media like soil or coco and the water tanks so well known in hydroponics are eliminated.  In aeroponics, plant roots are suspended in air and fed directly by a nutrient rich water mist.  Because there is no media, plants do not expel energy searching for oxygen and nutrients, which means that grow faster and with higher yields than in other methods.  The use of mister systems allows for reduction in water consumption of up to 95%.

Aeroponics was greatly advanced by NASA in the 19990’s for growing in space and is now extremely common for growing vegetables in urban environments.  The technique has long been used in the Clone stage of cannabis cultivation and is now becoming commonplace through the Veg and Flower stages.  High levels of grower control, the ability to grow vertically, and massive reductions in water consumption make aeroponics highly favorable.

You can learn more on this page or this episode of cannacribs.

 

 

Electrical Insulation

Electrical insulating materials from WS Hampshire take many forms and serve a wide range of application.  From polyester film used in the lighting industry, to corrugated vulcanized fiber in large transformers, to high temperature composites in the electric arc furnace of a modern steel mill.  Our extensive capabilities allow us to slit, roll, punch, form or CNC machine insulating materials into parts per your specifications.

Contact us today to learn more about how our material and fabrication expertise can help you and your team.

This is not a bearing failure…

 

It may be ugly, but this Ryertex bearing was NOT A FAILURE!  Follow here to see how this bearing set replaced bronze and gave one mill the ability to reduce the risk of tens of thousands of dollars in lost production and damaged equipment.

Nylon Cable Pulling & Tensioning Rollers

Cable Pulling/ Tensioning Rollers

Cable pulling equipment in the electric, telecommunications, and related industries use rollers to support the line being installed and for directional changes to protect the line from damage. This includes support blocks, snatch blocks, corning arrays/quadrants, and boom point roller-type sheaves on a variety of stringing equipment extensions.  These rollers were initially made of steel or aluminum, but corrosion damaged lines and safety concerns due to part weight led to changes. Rubber and urethane rollers have been used, but they have limitations caused by weathering, chemical attack, and wear.  

Using nylon in place of steel, rubber, or urethane allows for improved performance and operational efficiency as nylon rollers are lightweight and will not cause damage your cable due to corrosion and wear.

What applications are you working on where this may apply?

What are Timco Technical Thermoplastics?

Thermoplastic Parts

Engineering plastics are a form of polymer that are well known for their high mechanical strength, versatility, and ability to be melted and reformed into other shapes.  For decades, engineers have seen plastics replace metal in applications where weight reduction, corrosion resistance or low coefficient of friction is needed to reduce wear on mating parts.

Plastics are lightweight so they are safer to maintain than steel and can reduce noise and vibration levels. Options exist to produce parts from fiber reinforced polymers as well as those that are self lubricating which can enhance the performance of plastics. These features help provide longer part life for the entire system, leading to cost savings for equipment manufacturers and end users.

For example, a significant reduction in the weight of sheaves and wear pads will increases the lifting capacity of cranes or aerial work platforms and may offer a reduction in power requirements. Additionally, the handling and assembly of these parts is made safer as most plastics are one seventh the weight of steel.  Additionally, plastic materials cause very little wear on the contacted surface as seen where wire rope will last two to three times longer when plastic sheaves are used instead of steel. Scheduled maintenance for lubrication of parts is often reduced or eliminated completely when components are manufactured from plastics.

Thermal Insulation Applications

CS85 Calcium Silicate Board

As a full service provider of non-metallic materials, WS Hampshire is not limited to Ryertex and Timco Technical Thermoplastics that you probably know us best by.

WS Hampshire supplies asbestos free thermal insulation boards for applications such as platen presses, foundries, glass handling, molding machines, fire protection, or customized applications with temperatures up to 1,800ºF.

Materials include various Marinite, Glastherm, Transite, Mica, or CS85 and we can provide full sheets, or custom fabricated parts.

Let us know what you are working on today and our team will provide the right insulating board for your specific application.

“Dry” Versus “Conditioned” Nylon Explained

European cast nylon producers, and injection molding resin guides, report both “dry” and “conditioned” data for nylon-based materials which are hygroscopic (absorb moisture from the air) and can absorb upwards of 8% moisture by weight at saturation (compared to 0.8% for acetal).

This is a completely reversible physical reaction as the higher the humidity, the faster nylon will absorb moisture. However, it only absorbs moisture until it is saturated and can absorb no more.  Conversely, it releases moisture and dries out when exposed to dryer air.

Under normal conditions, nylon will reach equilibrium in a short period of time, though time will vary depending on thickness.  However, “equilibrium” is a relative term given its environment at a given time.  So, equilibrium will vary from Minnesota to Louisiana, and from winter to summer.

Dry and conditioned data

Nylons are semi-crystalline polymers, with both crystalline and amorphous regions. The tight crystalline regions give nylon much of its strength, stiffness and wear resistance.

The amorphous regions absorb the water, which then bonds to the polymer chain and force the crystalline structures apart.  The result is nylon parts that swell and show diminished mechanical properties. Water actually acts as a plasticizer, making the nylon softer while increasing toughness and elongation. Since these effects happen when polyamides are exposed to moisture, they must be considered when designing a part.

What is the difference between data quoted for dry and conditioned data for plastic materials? And why is this most significant for nylons

Dry: Data with equivalent moisture content as when it was run (typically <0.2%).

Conditioned: data after absorbing environmental moisture at 50% relative humidity prior to testing.

Effect of moisture on properties

In general, as moisture content rises, impact strength and other energy absorbing characteristics increase. Some other properties decline

Variation of properties of nylon 6 as a function of humidity

Dimensional stability

When designing nylon components, it is important to consider that dimensions will be dramatically affected by temperature and humidity.  This is especially so on long parts. If the dimensional change is unacceptable, you should consider acetal (POM) or polyester (PET) as alternative materials as they provide additional stability in wet environments.

At room temperature and 50% relative humidity, equilibrium moisture content for nylon tends to remain around 2%, which corresponds to an increase in size of roughly 0.5 – 0.6%. Under similar conditions, acetal absorbs roughly 0.2% moisture by weight and grow around 0.2%.

Variations between nylon grades

How much the different properties change depends a great deal on the chemistry of the polymer itself. Nylon types include 6, 6/6, 4/6, 6/12, 11, and 12 (types = number of carbon atoms in the molecule) Polyamide 12, for example, doesn’t absorb as much moisture as Polyamide 6, so Polyamide 12’s properties don’t fluctuate as much with moisture.

Absorption of Moisture by Nylons by Weight % at 50% R.H. and Saturation @ 23°C (resin data)

Additionally, as nylon absorbs moisture beyond equilibrium, its surface becomes “amorphous” (spongy), and wear resistance is lower. The addition of liquid or solid lubricants to the nylon offsets most of the decrease.

Need help deciding what to use? The experts at WS HAMSHIRE can explain this and more, so you can make the best material decisions for your needs! Call us – you’re in the right place!

 

Tom Connelly is a self proclaimed “Street Engineer” with over 40 years in the plastics industry.