Light composite material created by novel process

Louise Davis

Positioned as a sustainable and capable alternative to titanium and carbon composites, Alvant’s new material looks, at first glance, to be similar to a sandwich panel architecture. However, while it features two skins and a core, Alvant’s ‘one-shot’ manufacturing process creates one piece of single continuous reinforced matrix material with different regions of reinforcement, as opposed to a sandwich solution where separate materials are bonded together. The result of eliminating weak points where the materials interface is significantly increased component strength and stiffness-to-weight ratios. 

Traditional sandwich materials are typically assembled from carbon composite or unreinforced metallic panes with a variety of honeycomb cores. The metallic pane, or ‘skin’ is typically a flat, 2D panel, while carbon composite varieties can take 3D forms. Alvant’s multi-phase material method ensures the product is more resistant to shrinkage, damage and high temperatures, making it suitable for harsher environments. It is also possible to create more complex shapes whilst reducing the post processing and assembly times usually associated with sandwich panel construction by as much as 30%.

Different material selections for both the skin and core are possible so that the Metal Matrix Composite (MMC) multi-phase material properties can be tailored to suit specific requirements at the lowest weight. (For weight comparison, typical Alvant multi-phase material density is ~ 1.9g/cc, whereas Aluminium is ~ 2.7g/cc, steel is ~ 7.9g/cc, Titanium is ~ 4.5g/cc and carbon fibre composite is ~ 1.6g/cc.)

According to Alvant, MMC multi-phase material panels could benefit any industry facing lower emissions and reduced weight challenges such as aerospace, automotive, defence, high-end consumer goods, industrial products and healthcare. End users will typically be those who are searching to enhance their product’s capabilities, while also respecting sustainability targets.  

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