Proof Research, TenCate developing new composites for aerospace, defense industry

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P2SI, a manufacturer of composite materials and resins for Proof Research’s hybrid barrels, has teamed up with TenCate Advanced Composites, an aerospace materials provider, to develop a new generation of hybrid composite materials.

P2SI is a subsidiary of Proof Research, the manufacturer of hybrid carbon-fiber and steel barrels for Remington-action and AR-15 rifles. Proof and TenCate are turning to more advanced aerospace materials for its upcoming projects.

TenCate is currently a supplier of pre-impregnated, or “pre-preg,” composite fiber materials laced with epoxy or other resins that are used in the manufacture of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

“TenCate is an ideal partner to provide highly-specialized, advanced composite materials incorporating our high-temperature resin systems,” Dr. David Curliss, P2SI president, said in a press release. “This partnership provides a broader opportunity for Proof Research to further our offerings of P2SI resins to the aerospace market and opens up new channels into defense and commercial aerospace markets.”

“This is a natural partnership which allows TenCate to expand our offerings of high-temperature composite solutions for the aerospace, space and satellite markets and builds upon our collaborative, multi-year relationship with P2SI,” Joe Morris, TenCate president, said. “In addition to the current F-35 platform that we support with P2SI resin systems, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand the use of P2SI resin technology into other high-temperature aerospace applications.”

While pre-preg composites are commonly used for aircraft skins and satellite parts, they have industrial applications all over the map. One of these applications is hybrid barrels.

Hybrid barrels are built around a traditional rifled steel barrel core that has been wrapped or sleeved with another material, generally carbon-based, for significantly improved rigidity, barrel harmonics and heat dissipation.

These hybrid composite barrels generally look pretty chunky, but in reality, owing the the reduction in steel volume and the extremely light weight of the composite materials they add little to no extra mass and gain all the benefits of having an extra-heavy fluted bull barrel.

Additionally, these hybrid barrels are stronger, more durable and rugged than all-steel barrels. Because of their heat dissipation properties the bore and chamber will suffer less thermal expansion and last much longer and the chamber and throat of the barrel will show less signs of wear and erosion.

Proof Research isn’t the only company working on hybrid barrel systems. The other big name in this budding industry is Teludyne Tech, a custom shop that will install its “Straight Jacket” barrel system on just about any long gun you can think of.

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U.S. Biathletes Lanny and Tracy Barnes. They are twins.

These barrel systems are already working their way into the top tiers of shooting sports, with U.S. Biathletes Lanny and Tracy Barnes turning to Teludyne for their rifles for the Olympic games.

It won’t happen overnight but the use of hybrid barrels will change the way we build guns. Development of new fiber matrices and new resins will make the tech even more appealing as they continue to improve and enhance the performance of guns everywhere.

The use of fiber-impregnated polymers for synthetic stocks and plastic pistol grips was originally dismissed as an odd experiment and is now standard for service pistols and rifles around the world. With hybrid barrels already proving to be a cut above traditional barrels, it won’t be long until they become commonplace.