Ashland resins used in award-winning communications tower for the Air Force

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Ashland resins used in award-winning communications tower for the Air Force

The tower built by Composite Support & Solutions Inc. under the Air Force SBIR/STTR Program for Hanscom Air Force Base and its partners. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Composite Support & Solutions (CSSI), San Pedro, CA. recently won a prestigious Tibbett’s award from the Small Business Administration for a 118-foot communications tower installed by the Air Force at Hanscom AFB in Massachusetts. The tower was fabricated by CSSI using Ashland Derakane™ vinyl ester resin designed for pultrusion. Dr. Clement Hiel, CSSI’s founder and president, received the award at a ceremony at the White House on January 10th.

The prototype tower created by CSSI was made completely of composite materials. It uses fastener-less joining technology where individual components, such as the lattice cross members, “snap” together during the assembly process without the need for metallic bolts. CSSI selected Derakane because of its mechanical properties and its outstanding corrosion resistance.

“CSSI’s snap-join approach is an enabling technology for the fabrication of modular composites. There is great interest these days in lightweight, easy-to-assemble, easy-to-disassemble materials, and as such, this award-winning technology should spur widespread interest in the automotive, aerospace, and building and construction industries.” said Joe Fox of Ashland.

Corrosion is currently the major cost driver in the maintenance of communication towers throughout the Air Force inventory. This has created a prevalent need for the Air Force to address corrosion-related issues, fueling the drive to discover innovative corrosion-resistant materials.

Composite Support & Solutions’ tower is being touted as the first of a new generation of tall composite towers that have the distinct advantage of being free from corrosion, significantly reducing long-term maintenance costs, while offering dramatically shortened construction times.

The Tibbetts Award honors the SBIR/STTR program participants and supporters that have created a significant economic or social impact through the use of SBIR/STTR funding and are considered the best of the best from the thousands of firms that currently participate in the program.

About Ashland
Ashland Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ASH) is a premier global specialty chemicals company serving customers in a wide range of consumer and industrial markets, including adhesives, architectural coatings, automotive, construction, energy, food and beverage, personal care and pharmaceutical. At Ashland, we are 6,000 passionate, tenacious solvers – from renowned scientists and research chemists to talented engineers and plant operators – who thrive on developing practical, innovative and elegant solutions to complex problems for customers in more than 100 countries. Ashland also maintains a controlling interest in Valvoline Inc. (NYSE: VVV), a premium consumer-branded lubricant supplier. Visit to learn more.


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Sandra Derthick

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Sandra Derthick
Ashland Inc
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