Helicoid Industries Inc. is proud to announce it has successfully released three use cases of its performance enhancing technology

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Helicoid Industries Inc. is proud to announce it has successfully released three use cases highlighting performance enhancing technology at the CAMX Conference in Anaheim, CA on October 20th, 2022

The bio inspired Helicoid™ technology enables improved performance of advanced composites, leading to lighter structures, while achieving excellent cost efficiency and sustainability. The deployment of Helicoid™ technology can be realized with no change in raw materials (fiber and resin), and no change in the manufacturing process. Therefore, the benefits are achieved with no supply chain disruption.

The first use case was a collaboration between Helicoid Industries Inc., TPI Composites, Inc. and SAERTEX GmbH (Saerbeck, Germany) focusing on improving the mechanical performance of Electric Vehicle (EV) battery pack underbody protection plates made of innovative E-glass Helicoid™ multiaxial non-crimp fabrics infused with a thermoset resin.

Key mechanical requirements of EV protective enclosures are mainly tailored to resist road impact with the objective of guaranteeing the survivability and integrity of the battery module. Specifically, these requirements include resistance to perforation, reduction of fiber splintering (i.e. high structural integrity) and reduction of deflection under impact. Prototyping and testing with Helicoid™ have demonstrated a 25% higher impact strength and a 20% reduction in the maximum deflection during impact compared to a commercial design at equal weight, using the same fiber type and resin system. These results were primarily achieved by engineering the ply angles of the glass fibres from a conventional quasi-isotropic lay-up to our bio-inspired helicoidal lay-up with tailored stiffness and impact performance. Fiber failure was suppressed upon impact, thus leading to a solution with high structural integrity and an unprecedented potential for both weight and cost savings.

Kevin Veloso, TPI Composites, Inc. Principal Engineer Transportation stated; “Helicoid’s fiber architecture technology enables a viable solution for improving/optimizing impact performance. The delay in fiber damage makes the composite laminates more durable and impact resistant. It has been a pleasure collaborating with such great talent at Helicoid and look forward to our mutual success”.

The second use case demonstrated that Helicoid™ fibre architecture delivers excellent performance improvements with one of the fastest growing categories of composite materials: fibre reinforced thermoplastic composites. These materials are equally strong and stiff as thermoset composites, but provide improved energy absorption, fatigue resistance, and recyclability. They are also much faster to process. These characteristics make the Helicoid™ technology ideally suitable for mass production. In a collaboration with Mitsui Chemicals Europe GmbH, with the support of Airborne, it was demonstrated that TAFNEX© Carbon/PP laminates, utilizing the Helicoid™ fibre architecture technology achieves >90% higher multi-strike resistance compared to conventional laminate designs. This, along with the healing enabled by Helicoid™ fiber architectures & thermoplastic matrix systems, paves the way for improved cost efficiency and sustainability by achieving ‘more with less’.

Green Composites: Enabling natural fibres in loadbearing, damage resistance structures

Helicoid Industries Inc. was awarded the Outstanding Technical Paper Award Winner at the annual CAMX Conference, held in Anaheim from October 17th to October 20th, 2022. The paper, authored by Dr. Lorenzo Mencattelli, Helicoid Industries Managing Director of Technology and Operations, highlights the third use case, and described how natural fiber composites can now be used successfully, where historically they have struggled to find market share in high-volume, high-performance applications for their relatively low performance/cost ratio.

In a collaboration with National University of Singapore, Helicoid Industries has demonstrated that the Helicoid™ technology can be successfully tailored to enhance impact performance of a wide set of natural fiber composites and their hybrids. The study included an in-depth analysis of several Helicoid™ configurations including flax/glass composite hybrids with different flax/glass ratios. Key achievements include the demonstration that Helicoid can greatly outperform 100% glass fiber composites while utilizing 50% of its mass with natural flax fibres, which have >50% lower carbon footprint. Key performance improvements included +60% larger “warning region” before failure, +105% energy storage before peak load, +32% perforation energy and +14% impact strength. This is the first step in establishing biomaterial applications in composite structural parts and a pathway to a more sustainable composites industry.

Dr. Lorenzo Mencattelli, Managing Director of Technology and Operations for Helicoid stated; ”natural-fiber composite materials are key to achieving a more sustainable transportation industry. Biomimicry can be an effective tool to enable a more extensive use of natural-fiber composite products in high-performance applications and load-bearing structures. The collaboration with National University of Singapore has demonstrated how Helicoid™ technology can be efficiently shaped to deliver meaningful margins of improvement for both high-end products using natural-fibers UD tape prepreg systems and high-volume applications using flax NCF and a liquid molding process, thus creating an opportunity for technology deployment in a wide range of markets and applications.”

Helicoid Industries is a California based company founded in 2019 by a seasoned team of experts working to commercialize the Helicoid™ biomimetic fiber-reinforced composite technology. Helicoid Industries both licenses the technology to composite producers, as well as produces preform solutions. The Helicoid™ technology emulates the structure found in the Mantis shrimp, which is one of the toughest structures in the world providing incredible impact resistance and weight savings.

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Anita Beishuizen