2017 World Human-Powered Speed Challenge

Written by Mark Lukasik.

University of Toronto -  Engineering’s Human-Powered Vehicle Design Team
Wins the 2017 World Human-Powered Speed Challenge.

The bike's pilot, Calvin Moes, becomes the fastest person in the world this year - achieving a top speed of just over 127 km/h - and winning the event against about 15 other teams from across the globe.

Composites Canada is proud to be a team sponsor - providing materials, knowledge and advice.

Aerovello

They look like futuristic space pods zooming down the desert road State Route 305 outside of Battle Mountain in Northern Nevada. They’re sophisticated bicycles, designed by teams of engineers, athletes, and aficionados to compete for world records for “human-powered vehicles” on land.  The bikes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all will go faster than any traditional bicycle racing along flat ground. Spectators can expect the best teams to be faster and more daring than Tour de France riders during mountain descents.

The University of Toronto Team's Recumbent Bicycle

The team's recumbent bicycle, named Eta Prime, was clocked at an impressive 127.6 kilometres per hour – the fastest in this year’s competition. Eta Prime’s design is modelled on Eta, the vehicle that currently holds the record for the world’s fastest bicycle at 144.17 km/h. Eta was built by AeroVelo, a company founded by U of T Engineering alumni Todd Reichert and Cameron Robertson.  They used Eta’s molds to cast Eta Prime’s carbon-fibre shell.  “Within a millimetre or two, it has exactly the same shape,” said Moes. “As far as we know, it is the best shape for a single-person speedbike in the world.”

They did improve on Eta's design by overhauling the carbon-fibre frame that holds up the vehicle and redesigned both the rear wheel and braking system. Through a combination of innovations, they were able to create a bike that was 20 per cent lighter than Eta, while maintaining its internal strength. But as with any speed bike, much depends on the engine – that is, the rider. “You can build the best bike in the world, but if you can’t produce the energy to get it up to speed, you’re not going to get there,” said Moes.

“The fact that we reach the same speeds as the other teams, and in some cases, even surpass them, on significantly less power than their riders can produce is remarkable,” said Moes. “It speaks to the amount of engineering that went into this design.”

Congratulations University of Toronto team and Calvin Moes.  We're proud to be on your team!

Read more about their win in the University of Toronto News and in the San Franciso Chronicle.  
Learn more about the World Human Powered Speed Challenge.

CANWEA Annual Conference & Exhibition

Written by Aaron Miller.

CANWEA

We're here at The Canadian Wind Energy Annual Conference & Exhibition from October 5th to 7th, 2015 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.  We're showcasing with 3M the fastest, best supported, most durable wind blade repair and long term protection products.  Our products and strategy gives owners a job that’s fast and a job that lasts.  We’re the only ones who can use each and every one of our products in the field.  Drop by and say hi if you're at the show.

 

 

JEC Composites Show Paris – March 2015

Written by Mark Lukasik.

JEC, the world’s leading annual composites industry show and conference, celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.   Both attendees and exhibitors had a wide international representation.   Attendance was strong and the show has increased in size for the last several years.   The general feeling at JEC 2015 was of enthusiasm for future industry prospects.   The show focus was on higher end composites through vacuum assisted processes.     Parts with aesthetically pleasing unpainted structural surfaces were exhibited throughout; carbon fiber and other exotic fibers in a variety of weaves and fiber combinations. Parts displayed ranged from a Japanese anime character in a flawless clear carbon laminate to a Le Mans racecar. Flax and other natural fiber fibers woven into fabrics for composite reinforcement appear to be the biggest current trend.

The wind energy sector has been a large industry driver over the last several years and several booths displayed evidence of this.   The current market trend for JEC 2015 was a focus on automotive motor sports and potential automotive industry composite demands of the future.   It’s always exciting to see what new things can be made out of composites. A show like the JEC gives you a good peek into future possibilities and the future looks exciting!

JEC1

A beautiful day in Paris

JEC4

JEC tradeshow

JEC3

Scott Bader's new Crestapol toughened hybrid resin

JEC2

One of several carbon sports cars

JEC5

Our newest partnership, Gerster

JEC6

And everyone thought wool was itchy!!!

New Product - Gerster Gussets & Distribution Tapes

Written by Santosh Varughese.

Gerster

Precision workmanship is crucial in building critical products. It becomes even more risky when the process calls for manufacturing products using Vacuum Infusion process. To eliminate these risks, usage of Gerster Gussets and Distribution Tapes are important.

Gussets

Gerster Gussets helps reinforce corner joints in 3-dimensional components. They also help alleviate production problems like vacuum bag bridging and voids in tight corners. The Gusset consists of a warp knitted cover of 90 deg plies and a core consisting of three cords in carbon or fiberglass. The twisted cords have different diameters in order to fit exactly to an angle connection. The Gussets are meant to be a drastic improvement of what some in the aerospace industry might know as liquorice sticks. Advantages of the Gussets are easy inlaying, good conformability, reinforcement of weak corners and edges and ideal run of forces in the component.

Gerster Resin Distribution Tapes

The Gerster Resin Distribution Tape is a textile flowing aid which optimizes the vacuum infusion process (VIP). The resin tape is composed of a knitted structure and consists of loops which are made of monofilaments. These loops form the flowing channel which transports the resin equally into the component part. It transports the resin equally into the compound and is responsible for evacuating the air of the vacuum compound. At the entrance side, the resin tape is used for the leading-in of the resin and at the exit side it is used for the evaluation of the air and the surplus resin. The advantages are easy fixation, no adhesive tape necessary, fits well at curved components, no appreciable marks and easy removal. Now it comes with an adapter that connects between the resin entrance and the teflon tube.

North America Distribution

Composites Canada has teamed up with Gerster Techtex in distributing these products in North America. We promote these products mainly to the Aerospace, Wind energy, rotor turbines customers and available for general sales. We have stock of common sizes, and other sizes can be made available within a week after order. We provide the necessary technical support and service along with the products.

You can contact us at 905 629 3178 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New Product - Carbon Tubing Now Available

Written by Jason Pozzo.

CarbonTubing

We're now carrying a full line of carbon tubing.  Whether it be Pultruded (unidirectional strands) woven wrapped (twill or plain weave) or filament wound tubing we have what you need.  Carbon tubing is useful in many applications from RC cars and trucks to Robotic arms on the mars rover.

Stock sizes range from 2mm-25mm ID.  If we don’t have stock a particular size you are looking for we can have them custom made to spec. Just give us the dimensions that you require and specific laminate you require (unless unknown) and we will have our expert team of builders manufacture the tubes to spec. Custom tubing does have a 2-6 week lead time depending on the complexity of the laminate.  We also carry solid rod (pultruded only)

Please contact us at 905 629 3178 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  with any questions you have regarding pricing and specific sizes. 

Freezing In Here

Written by Aaron Miller.

IMG 20150720 170602At Composites Canada we have just about everything available for our industry, and it’s getting harder all the time to expand our product range.  But I just can't leave things alone and I’m pretty excited to introduce our new 18x20 walk in freezer.  OK it's pretty plain on the outside, but what's goes in is state of the art. 

Prepreg stands for “pre-impregnated”. Composite fabrics with resin has already been added by the manufacturer.  The cure is stalled part way through and kept frozen.  It waits this way until some heat from an oven completes the cure.  Most commonly fiberglass or carbon fiber with epoxy, the concept can extend to any fabric and resin.  Woven, stiched, braided, vinylester, phenolic, cyanate ester, anything you could imagine.

Why prepreg? No more resin mess. No more fabric dry spots. No frayed edges, no misplaced fibers, no poorly mixed or off ratio hardener. Easy use of super light and stiff honeycomb (no liquid resin to fill the cells). Ideal resin content for stronger, lighter parts. In short, both the resin and fiber goes where you need it and stays there until cure, all while keeping the shop, and your hands, clean and tidy.

 A few quick notes:

  • An oven and vacuum bag is required. An autoclave is not.
  • Prepregs can cure with as little as 150°F.
  • Most can remain at room temperature for a month or more before use.
  • We stock mostly carbon prepreg in fabrics, multiaxials and unidirectionals, with cosmetic grades, toughened resins, film adhesives and expanding films as options.
  • We can have custom fabrics made into prepreg for just about any application.

Whether you’ve been using prepreg for years or are just curious to see how this material can make better parts, give us a call. Better yet, stop by.  Can't beat this kind of selection.

My Workshop Is Cold!

Written by Aaron Miller.

LaserMy garage is cold, and I'm trying to cure some urethane. All it needs is a nice warm hug...

A while ago, I wrote about the need to monitor shop temperature, material temperature and mold temperature. It's really important. These days, a go-to device for this is the laser thermometer. They're cheap, versatile and found just about everywhere. Shops have learned a lot with these gadgets. But I've noticed something strange: shops use them, and some of the temperature related problems get worse. I've even seen this in our own lab, so what's going on?

A quick rundown on how INFRARED THERMOMETERS do their job:

The Laser Is Cool, But...

But it has nothing to do with taking the reading. It's a targeting guide only. These devices use a sensor to measure infrared radiation from a surface, and the laser shows you where it's reading. More or less. Some devices point to laser to the top of the measured spot. Or the middle. Or bottom. See the problem? You might not be measuring what you think. (My pro tip: get one with two or more lasers to show the boundaries of the measured spot.)

Distance To Spot Ratio

Devices have a "distance-to-spot ratio". The sensor is behind a lens, kinda like a single pixel digital camera. Just like a camera, the size of that what the sensor looks at depends on your distance from it. Somewhere the device will (hopefully) tell you the D/S ratio. If it's 8:1, then you are measuring a 2" spot only from 16" away. That's if you are looking at the right spot in the first place. (My pro tip: get a device with a large D:S ratio, 12:1 or more.)

Emmisivity Matters

These devices measure infrared energy emitted from a surface. The problem is that all surfaces emit some and reflect some. So the device is calibrated to accommodate this. Do you know what your device is set to read? Not a surprise that shiny surfaces reflect more than dull ones. With all the polished molds or liquid resin surfaces in a shop, you're reading some of their surface energy and a good deal of their incidental reflected energy. (My pro tip: get an IR thermometer which can adjust for this. Check a commonly measured surface with a thermocouple probe and adjust the IR emmisivity setting until the displayed temps match.)

It's been great to see customers get on board with measuring temps around the shop. Their new awareness they get helps them in every process. IR thermometers are a great tool for this but like any tool, they need a bit of care and concern for proper use. At Composites Canada, we're in a lot of shops, involved in a lot of procedures.

Since we've seen and used so many of these tools, we've learned which work best for our industry. Call us any time at 905-670-7862 for some recommendations.

We have the best customers. Literally

Written by Aaron Miller.

Anybody who spends much time around me hears me rant and rave about how good local Canadian manufacturing talent is. 

Today there's an official annoucement that backs this up in a very unusual and surprisingly cool way.  For a while now the homegrown AeroVelo team has been wandering in to our shop to chat about composite materials for the most audacious thing: building a human powered helicopter to compete in the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition.  Seriously.  This competition has been going on since 1980, with no takers.  Until now. 

Check this out:

helicopter

A huge congratulations to these guys.  They are literally the best in the world. 

This is exactly what I mean when I say I love this industry for the variety of strange and wonderful things it conceives.  However strange your idea, we love to help.

Call or Email Us:

1-877-773-7336
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Visit Our Showroom:

1100 Meyerside Drive
Mississauga, ON  L5T 1J4

Monday-Friday
9 am to 5 pm

Parking

When facing our building, the showroom driveway is on the LEFT side of the building. Parking and the showroom entrance are halfway down the side.