Composites

What do you make your rockets out of? Share your ideas or questions about tubes, fins, epoxies, or any other materials related to rocketry.
Alexander
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:45 am

Composites

Postby Alexander » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:45 am

I thought I'd go ahead and share my experiences with composites as I want to see more of that in the rocketry community. Whether it be for sport or for high altitude and mach busting rockets. Composites can go where all other materials fail. I'll be explaining my materials of choice along with the ups and downs. Whatever works best for you is your choice and I will not disagree with that. I wont discuss epoxy resins as that is already in another thread.

I'll start off with the cheapest of materials and that is fiberglass. There are two types of fiberglass. One known as E-glass and the other as S-glass. S-glass is more stronger than E-glass and would be the most likely choice for more strength if required. Both materials laminate differently as E-glass turns transparent. S-glass turns more into a white amber color. It will also cure white in color. In my experiences with fiberglass. I have found that using lightweight glass 3-4oz in weight. Allows for hardly any air bubbles to get trapped and laminates faster. The down side to a lightweight glass is it takes lots of layers to achieve the desired thickness. You'll find this in many G-10 fiberglass sheets.


Next up is the expensive one and my all time favorite, Carbon Fiber. Unlike fiberglass, carbon wets out differently and in my experience. Wets out more easily compared to glass. The best part about carbon is that it is unlikely to trap air bubbles as it is a non-porous material. There may be micro bubbles, but those are hardly a threat to the structure. Carbon perhaps has no downsides to it as for whatever weight and resin combo I've used. I always end up with successful results.

I will finally include another expensive material known as the hybrid of carbon and kevlar. Perhaps it is my most prefered materials for the most extreme of flights where lightweight and strength are very critical. Kevlar, much like glass laminates in the same manner, except kevlar has a color that turns darker when wet out. In my experience with the carbon/kevlar hybrid I found the cured laminate to be lighter, but at the same time very strong. Hardly any air bubbles as well due to the non-porous nature of the two materials. The only downside to a carbon/kevlar is that you must provide a glass layer to prevent sanding the kevlar. Kevlar has a tendency to "fuzz" when sanded.

This is all I have for my experiences with composites and I hope it provides some insite on which materials you would choose for your next project. I plan to share more as I would like to see more composites made by scratch into the rocketry hobby.
Alexander Solis

JD13x
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:35 pm

Re: Composites

Postby JD13x » Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:34 pm

I've been using a both fiberglass and Carbon fiber cloth laminates for a number of years.
I recently came across some "Industrial" fiberglass cloth.
It's a 6 oz weight by 50" wide. It has a very tight weave and is hard to wet out completely.
Very strong when cured, using Aeropoxy 2032 and 3660 laminating epoxy.

I bought it from Fiberglass site: http://www.fiberglasssite.com/
They are selling it for $3.00 a yard!
http://www.fiberglasssite.com/6oz-indus ... yds-30-00/

They even offer 20% off of S&H

JD

Alexander
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:45 am

Re: Composites

Postby Alexander » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:48 am

JD13x wrote:I've been using a both fiberglass and Carbon fiber cloth laminates for a number of years.
I recently came across some "Industrial" fiberglass cloth.
It's a 6 oz weight by 50" wide. It has a very tight weave and is hard to wet out completely.
Very strong when cured, using Aeropoxy 2032 and 3660 laminating epoxy.

I bought it from Fiberglass site: http://www.fiberglasssite.com/
They are selling it for $3.00 a yard!
http://www.fiberglasssite.com/6oz-indus ... yds-30-00/

They even offer 20% off of S&H

JD


Thank you for sharing JD. I want to see more composite work more often. I'll later be posting a jig set up that will work with any mandrel. For now I need to wait to grab the materials.

That is some cool glass. I believe I've tried something similar to that type from acp composites. It is pretty tough to wet out. That glass is best used for flat plates.
Alexander Solis


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