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July 2005

Images supplied courtesy of ATR Group


Already widely used in the worlds automotive industry, Huntsman Advanced Materials tooling boards have now been used in the development of a new Italian micro-car the k200. The ATR Group, an Italian consortium comprising nine leading companies involved in the research and production of carbon fibre advanced composite structural parts and components, is behind the k200 project. Among their other prestigious international automotive clients are Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Audi, Bugatti and Porsche. SLC, part of ATR Group, worked on the k200 model, specifically designed for the niche micro-car market. Made entirely from composite materials, as a result, the k200 is a super-light vehicle. Drawing on their wide expertise in composite materials, ATR Group technicians specified Huntsman Advanced Materials BM 5055 epoxy tooling board to build the models for ten carbon fibre moulds of the chassis, all the bodywork and interior components of the k200.

Once all the models of the k200 chassis and bodywork components were milled from CAD data, several layers of carbon fibre and epoxy resin pre-impregnated tissue were manually laid on top of the models, making sure that the resulting composite structure was voidless. An autoclave cure was then undertaken to provide the extra strength and resistance the models required. The temperature ranged from 60C to 190C to cure the resin and make the tissue tough and strong enough. The whole composite structure was then placed in a nylon vacuum bag and put in the autoclave again to compress all the tissue layers evenly. The physical properties of this tooling board were particularly suitable for our technological process, said Mr Giulio Strambi, Technical and Operational Manager at ATR Group, especially the high temperature and pressure stability which are key requirements for the curing process of the resin. Also, compared to other products on the market, we appreciated the ease of machining BM 5055 and its good surface finish after CNC milling. This enabled us to drastically reduce the final hand polishing operations and, subsequently, to speed up the entire manufacturing process. Just to give an idea, it took about a month an a half to build the mould for the largest of the bodywork components measuring 1.7m X 1.0m X 0.8m. A series of tests carried out on the models made from BM 5055 allowed us to assess the expansion and the thermal conductivity of this material as well as its workability with our work-station, added Mr Strambi. We were really pleased with the results and we decided to include the BM 5055 board material in the k200 manufacturing process. During a year we build hundreds of models made from BM 5055 tooling board, added Mr Abramo Levato, R&D Manager at ATR Group The stability of the board material has certainly contributed to enhancing our production runs and helped us avoid additional cost and time-consuming modifications to the model. After an intense 18 month design and production project, the k200 is now completed and will be exhibited at the JEC Composites show in Paris in April 2006.

BM 5055 epoxy tooling board is ideal for hand laminating pre-preg moulds and vacuum forming. It offers high dimensional stability, good temperature resistance, a smooth surface finish, Shore strength of 75D, density ranging between 0.72-0.75 g/cm, compressive strength of 50-55 MPa. For further information about tooling boards and the complete range of rapid prototyping and production materials from Huntsman Advanced Materials, visit the company website on: www.huntsman.com then click on Advanced Materials. For further information about the ATR Group, visit both websites on: www.atrgroup.it and www.superlightcars.it ENDS
RenShape and RenPaste are registered trademarks of Huntsman LLC or an affiliate thereof in one or more, but not all countries.

Editors Note Huntsman is a global manufacturer and marketer of commodity and differentiated chemicals. Its operating companies manufacture basic products for a variety of global industries including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, textiles, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances and packaging. Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging, and later, rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, Huntsman today has revenues of $11.5 billion, 11,300 employees and 62 operations in 22 countries. Statements in this release that are not historical are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on management's current beliefs and expectations. The forwardlooking statements in this release are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances and involve risks and uncertainties that may affect the company's operations, markets, products, services, prices and other factors as discussed in the Huntsman companies' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Significant risks and uncertainties may relate to, but are not limited to, financial, economic, competitive, environmental, political, legal, regulatory and technological factors. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the company's expectations will be realised. The company assumes no obligation to provide revisions to any forward-looking statements should circumstances change, except as otherwise required by securities and other applicable laws.