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Review the different sessions being offered at the forum
2  Annual Materials Innovation & Advanced Technology Leadership Forum


Forum Program

Learn more about the sessions and panels offered at the forum

Composites For Sustainability

Composites in a Hydrogen World

Automotive Structural Component Design

Analysis & Manufacturing 

Sustainable Aerospace

Multi-functional Composite Material Systems for Vehicle Battery Enclosures (GM)




Composites Towards Circularity

Light Weighting for Electrification 

Novel Materials and Processes to Aerospace 


Multifunctional Applications

  • High-Rate Manufacturing 

  • Low-Cost Manufacturing 

  • Tooling and Assembly Technology 

  • Composites Factory of the Future 

Composites for Sustainability


Don’t Look Up: How Increasing Demand for Sustainability will Impact the Future for Composite Material Suppliers

Positively or negatively, the increasing demand for more circular, sustainable products will directly impact the future for composite material suppliers. Their success will depend on how well they understand their influence on both sustainability and circularity, their acceptance of change, and the steps they take to today to position themselves for tomorrow. As consumer demand increases for more circular and sustainable products, designers and engineers must now look at the entire life cycle of the product along with its individual parts and materials to consider the overall sustainability and circularity. Fundamentally it begins and ends with material suppliers, but how well do composite material suppliers understand the difference between sustainability and circularity? Aren’t they the same? Can you increase sustainability but lower circularity? Sort of, and yes. We will discuss examples of Wind Blades and Tesla Tires, and through Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) evaluate how both provided greater sustainability during their operation but holistically aren’t truly sustainable or circular products. The potentially billion-dollar question, is the composite industry ready for change? The first signs of increasing demand for sustainable materials are occurring in the automotive, packaging, and building industries; some of the largest consumers of materials. Consider Porsche and Daimler who have both launched initiatives with goals of seeking carbon neutral supply chains in the next 7-10. Designers and Engineers must now consider these factors. How will companies respond? We will highlight how one global material supplier is preparing themselves for this imminent change by incorporating LCA concurrently with their strategic planning to alter their strategic direction, redefine their product strategy, and differentiate themselves. As demand increases companies will have two choices, they “don’t look up” and continue forward as normal or they “look up” and acknowledge the large asteroid of change that is entering their world. Increasing demand for more sustainable and circular materials will inevitably spur the next wave of material innovation and once again shift the market landscape creating new technologies, new entrants and exits for some existing players. For the companies that choose to “look up”, they must prepare now by assessing the changing needs of the market, identifying new threats and opportunities, and defining strategies that better position them for future growth. For those companies that choose not to “Look Up”, then their very existence may be in jeopardy.

Speaker: Adam Harms, Ruhl Strategic Partners

There is no more bigger challenge we, as a civilization face than the one Anthropogenic climate change has created. As lifetime members of the Plastics and composites community we are now presented with a unique opportunity to use our core strengths towards making a difference. Design Engineers and Materials Engineers at conscientious Automotive companies are feeling the pressure and a sense of urgency to make eco-friendly selections throughout the product development lifecycle. Achieving the ambitious decarbonization goals being published promises to be fun journey on which we will all need to essentially become ‘Carbon Engineers’ and question long established material and part requirements. Composites have long carried the stigma of not having a well thought out end-of-life solution. Changing our view of plastics and composites as opportunity areas to drive decarbonization is the focus of my presentation. The primary aim being to inform and inspire the audience with a few ideas and strategies that I have found to be useful in my work.

Carbon Engineering for Automotive Exterior Applications

Speaker: Arun Ramanathan, Rivian

U.S. Department of Energy’s H2@Scale Vision

Hydrogen is one part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) broad portfolio of activities to help to decarbonize the economy. This presentation provides an overview of DOE’s activities in hydrogen production, infrastructure and storage and fuel cell technologies within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. DOE’s H2@Scale initiative aims to enable innovations to generate cost-competitive hydrogen as an energy carrier to enable deep decarbonization across sectors, including power generation and transmission, transportation, industry, and chemical sectors. Specific examples of advanced materials research relevant to transportation and energy storage challenges will be discussed.

Speaker: Ned T. Stetson, Ph.D., DOE HFTO

Sustainable Composites in the UK: A critical step for the Net Zero Economy

The UK is fully committed to achieving Net Zero in 2035 and identified 10 pillars to achieving it. Composites will play a fundamental role in at least 8 of those 10 pillars, but in order to do that we need to tackle 4 critical and interconnected issues: Using digital engineering to dramatically accelerate the development of new products, securing a complete supply chain (from raw materials to end of life), reducing the embodied emissions and maybe more critically, solving the sustainability of composite materials. This talk will cover the UK's strategy to deliver on all 4 topics.

Speaker: Enrique Garcia, Ph.D.,  NCC UK

How Victrex Brings Transformational & Sustainable Solutions : a focus in Transportation with Thermoplastic based applications.

The objective of this presentation is to introduce how Victrex PEEK and PAEK-based polymer solutions can help customers to overcome complex design and engineering challenges with a focus in Aerospace and Automotive applications. We will review one of the latest developments at Victrex, the so called, LMPAEK™ Victrex grade, available under a Uni Directional Tape. It provides significant manufacturing process benefits, which leads to time, energy and cost reduction, especially when it is processed via Automatic Fiber Placement (AFP) technique. When manufactured under a tape form, a very high lay up speed are achievable, and recently, thanks to the work performs with Coriolis and Electroimpact, we have been able to demonstrate that we can achieved speed similar to thermoset, up to 100 m/min when followed by a post oven consolidation step (Out Of Autoclave). Given this lower melting point temperature, the OoA/Oven consolidation cycle can be also reduced compared to other Thermoplastic PAEK UD T (-20%, 8 hours vs 10 hours). Alternative consolidation method, like VBO (Vacuum Bag Only) are also possible and demonstrate very short consolidation time (less than 1 hour), which will lead to overall cost savings can be achieved. No post consolidation process (in situ consolidation) will be covered too, where high speed can be also achieved. Few cases studies will be finally presented. The last section of the presentation be about the sustainability solutions and initiative taken by Victrex.

Speaker:  Gilles Larroque, Victrex

Composites in a Hydrogen World
Composites in a Hydrogen World
Wednesday January 25, 2023 3:00 pm - 4:45 pm
This session focuses on opportunities for composites to shape the hydrogen infrastructure, and the challenges that lie ahead for future infrastructure development. How does wind, ocean, hydro, nuclear, and biological energy production play a role? How can composites be part of the solution? Advances in lowering the cost of composites improve designs requiring less material, and how recycling composite materials can help lower the cost and carbon footprint. The session will help develop an understanding of where and how composites can play a pivotal role in hydrogen and clean energy with presentations covering:

Hydrogen Hub

Details coming soon.

Speaker: Claire Behar, Hystor Energy

Moderator: Kevin Simmons, Ph.D., PNNL

Advanced Carbon Fiber for Compressed Hydrogen Storage Tanks

The properties of carbon fiber make it an excellent choice for the overwrapping of 700-bar hydrogen storage tanks, but it is still too expensive to use in mass production. This presentation provides an overview of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) research and development activities focused on low-cost carbon fibers that will achieve approximately a 50% cost reduction in hydrogen storage systems and achieve the DOE H2 storage system cost target for onboard tanks of $8/kWh ($266/kg) stored H2. These include projects exploring techniques to lower the cost of carbon fiber precursors, reduce fiber conversion times and enhance composite storage tank performance, e.g., gravimetric energy density and burst pressure, while reducing overall tank cost.

Speaker:  Asha-Dee Celestine, Ph.D., U.S. Department of Energy

Moderator: Kevin Simmons, Ph.D., PNNL

Carbon Fiber Development for Pressure Vessels

Details coming soon.

Speaker: Amit Naskar, ORNL

Moderator: Kevin Simmons, Ph.D., PNNL

Enabling Superior Storage Efficiency for Composite Tanks with Fiber Patch Placement Dome Reinforcements

Cevotec developed an industrial automation solution based on Fiber Patch Placement which not only decreases the material consumption of hydrogen composite pressure vessels but also improves their storage efficiency significantly. Locally applied dome reinforcements substitute the high angle helical layers traditionally applied by a filament winding process. While achieving equivalent mechanical properties, this approach reduces net material consumption and cost by up to 15%, increases the storage efficiency by approx. 20% and returns its investment already in the first 10-20 months of series production. The presentation not only explains the concept and application, but also features a case study with an economic analysis.

Speaker: Thorsten Groene, Cevotec

Moderator:Kevin Simmons, Ph.D., PNNL

Transportation and Delivery of Hydrogen

Details coming soon.

Speaker: Dylan Winter, Evonik

Moderator: Kevin Simmons, Ph.D., PNNL


Automotive Structural Component Design Analysis & Manufacturing

Design and Development of an Ultra-Lightweight Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics Composites Automotive Closure System.

Recent global energy markets and supply chain disruptions have reiterated the necessity to improve the efficiency of transportation systems. In the U.S., one of the biggest automotive and energy markets, transportation accounted for more than a 1/4th of all energy consumption and resulted in nearly 1/3rd of all CO2 emissions. Although many approaches have been investigated to improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles, light-weighting has proven to be particularly effective as it allows automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to improve fuel efficiency, incorporate value-adding features without a weight penalty, and extract better performance. Historically, there have been several successful attempts focused on body-in-white (BiW) light-weighting as it accounts for more than 35% of the total vehicle weight. However, closure systems, which account for almost 50% of the total structural mass of the vehicle, are often overlooked. This is because closure systems need to meet a diverse range of design requirements such as crashworthiness during side impacts, stiffness, strength, corrosion resistance, durability, fit and finish, NVH and weather sealing. Since many of these design requirements are same as those of the larger BiW, light-weighting approaches using fiber reinforced (FRP) composites developed for closures can be translated to light-weighting other structural system of the vehicle as well. Thus, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office has initiated a multi-year research and development program to enable cost-effective light-weighting of the closure system, in this case the driver side door, of a commercial SUV. The designs developed as part of this initiative would enable weight reduction of 42.5% compared to the baseline steel door system, with a maximum allowable cost increase of $5 for every pound of weight reduced. Furthermore, the conceived designs were to be compatible with large-scale composite manufacturing processes to enable production of at least 20,000 vehicles annually. With the growing focus on use of sustainable materials and enabling recyclability, the designs were to enable 100% recyclability for the structural components. This addresses the increasingly stringent regulations such as the 95% recyclability required as per European standards. To address these objectives a wholistic systems design and optimization approach was adopted to ensure development of feasible carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) composite designs. In addition to superior specific mechanical properties, composites also enable significant parts consolidation. Thus, many smaller stamped components and reinforcing brackets were consolidated into two distinct high-performance carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFR-TP) composite parts suitable for fast and scaled production using thermoforming. The systems approach followed in design conceptualization, allowed for nearly 40% parts consolidation, which in turn reduced the tooling and assembly costs significantly. The systems approach employed, the design studies conducted and resulting assessment and down-selection of feasible designs are being presented in subsequent sections.

Speaker: Aditya Yerra, Ph.D., Tesla

Moderator: Srikanth Pilla, Ph.D., Clemson University

Sai Aditya Pradeep, Ph.D., Clemson University

Finite Element Analysis and Performance Evaluation of an Ultra-Lightweight Continuous Carbon Fiber Thermoplastics Composite Door Assembly.

An effective approach widely adopted by the transport industry to create fuel-efficient and sustainable solutions is light weighting. Among the various systems considered for light weighting in the automotive industry, closure systems have received least attention although their contribution to the overall structural mass is about 50%. Part of reason being the stringent crashworthiness requirements that demand high ductility and energy absorption. In addition, a diverse range of requirements including crash safety, durability, strength, fit, finish and NVH make the light-weighting of closure systems an extremely challenging task. To this end, the Clemson Composites Center embarked on an arduous task of light weighting an OEM’s vehicle door assembly by 42.5% while meeting all functional requirements at a moderate cost increment of less than $5 for every pound of weight saved. Several door designs were investigated using an integrated design, finite element analysis and optimization approach. The designs were evaluated using static load cases carefully derived from daily use and misuse of the baseline door. More importantly, finite element analysis was employed to assess the crashworthiness of the door assembly through three non-linear load cases: (a) quasi-static pole test (FM VSS 214S), (b) full pole test (FM VSS 214) and (c) moving deformable barrier test (IIHS SI MDB). As an essential step, the material card properties and parameters were optimized and validated at a sub-component level. The crashworthiness of the door designs was examined based on a set of key performance indicators recommended by the OEM. This presentation provides detailed assessment of the door designs thoroughly investigated for static and crash load cases and shows feasible door design that is ultra-light weight while meeting all performance requirements. Key attributes include, design optimization, subcomponent-level study, static and crash analyses of the door designs. Lastly, this work sheds light on the process involved in designing the thermoplastics composite door for crash performance based on inputs from a Manufacturing-to response pathway to validate and optimize the door’s crash response to that of a metal baseline.

Speaker: Gang Li, Ph.D., Clemson University

Moderator: Srikanth Pilla, Ph.D., Clemson University

Sai Aditya Pradeep, Ph.D., Clemson University

Digital Life Cycle: A Radical Redesign of Automotive Product Development for Continuous Fiber Thermoplastic Composites

The development and adoptions of new and innovative materials has seen a major uptick due to several factors from light weighting to sustainability. However, a major roadblock to the adoption of these materials is the conventional automotive product development process that is rooted in costs, risk mitigation, catastrophic failure, and the lack of expertise at the systems and design level. New materials like carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites offer high stiffness, strength, lightweight, recyclability while having short cycle times however, their adoption is severely limited by complex material architecture (localized stiffness properties), inability to predict manufacturing defects and model composite failure behavior. Repurposing this development process by architecting a simulation intensive paradigm that incorporates nuanced materials and manufacturing inputs on design, static, dynamic and NVH response could provide decision makers with the feedback necessary to facilitate this change. Clemson Composites Center (CCC) has embarked on a new platform that can revolutionize product lifecycle through a novel Manufacturing-to-Response (MTR) pathway. The MTR pathway seeks to address these limitations by establishing an end-to-end virtual chain that tries to accurately capture and simulate material properties, design, and process effects that can be structurally mapped for CAE predictions. This formed the centerpiece of a Department of energy (DOE) project whose goal is to design and develop a door which is 42.5% lighter than the baseline door while meeting all functional requirements at a moderate cost increment of less than $5 for every pound of weight saved. In this regard thermoforming process of continuous carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites (CFRTP) offer significant advantage in terms of ductile behavior and for large scale production, such as reduced cycle times. This presentation delves into the details of this MTR pathway that derives properties at the coupon level but goes on to be validated at a subcomponent and component level. Key attributes include, capturing of residual stresses during rapid cooling from the elevated temperatures, which are predicted by implementation of classical laminate theory (CLT) and its mapping for structural performance evaluation. Lastly, this work sheds light on the numerical investigation conducted to optimize the crash performance of the thermoplastic composite door using the manufacturing process inputs to meet targets through implementation of the MTR pathway.

Speaker:  Sai Aditya Pradeep, Ph.D., Clemson University

Moderator: Srikanth Pilla, Ph.D., Clemson University

Sai Aditya Pradeep, Ph.D., Clemson University

This session brings together aviation industry leaders as they share their bold visions to reach 2050 sustainability goals and the role advanced materials play in aviation de-carbonization and net-zero emissions impact. Learn from these panelists as they provide high-level overviews of each company's strategies and industry advancements needed to achieve safe and sustainable future aerospace products.

Speaker:  Maria Tamara Blanco, Airbus, Kevin Lutke, Boeing

Moderator: Enrique Garcia, Ph.D., National Composites Centre UK (NCC)

Sustainable Aerospace

Engineering Multifunctional Composite Materials with Enhanced Ductility and Highly Permeable Reinforcements Via Tailored Fiber Placement

This presentation will discuss permeability results for continuous fiber preforms produced via tailored fiber placement as well mechanical property behavior of epoxy composites produced from such preforms. The mechanical property discussion will focus on glass fiber/carbon fiber hybrid composites and demonstrate enhanced ductility of the carbon fibers in the presence of the glass fibers. The permeability discussion will focus on the effects of stitch density on the in-plane permeability of unidirectional glass fiber preforms.

Speaker: Adam Burley, Ph.D., Teijin Automotive Technologies

Multifunctional FRP Composites for Self-Damage Detection and Memory

A self-structural health monitoring technology for composite material will be presented, which uses structural carbon fiber materials to form a novel low-cost sensor network for detecting structural damage and identification of damage location.

Speaker:  Maria Q. Feng, Ph.D., Columbia University

Modeling of HP-RTM Process

The presentation details the development of process engineering models for high pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM), a recent development with a great potential for high-volume manufacturing. In the HP-RTM process, fast curing resins in combination with high injection pressures re utilized to keep the cycle times lower. HP-RTM t panel molding experiments were conducted with different injection rates and pressure measurements during the injection were made inside the mold. The developed numerical models were correlated with the experimental results for validation.

Speaker: Doug Bradley, Michigan State University

Model Validation and Analytical Certification of Composite Material Systems

We present a stochastic approach to model validation in the presence of multiscale interactions. The stochastic representations account for model error and data paucity and yield a characterization of probabilities of failure as random variables. We show how such a framework can be used for analytical certification.

Speaker: Zhiheng Wang, Ph.D, University of Southern California

Multi-scale Modeling of Hybrid Fiber Composites

In this presentation, a novel multi-scale modeling of hybrid fiber composites is proposed. The representative volume element (RVE) includes modeling the glass and carbon fiber tows with resin using 3-D elements. The material models for the fiber tows and resin include damage initiation and progression in various modes (tensile, compression, shear). Entire development is implemented in LS-DYNA framework. The predicted numerical results using the RVE are compared with tension and flexure experiments of hybrid composites and observed excellent correlations

Speaker: Venkat Aitharaju, Ph.D., General Motors Global Research and Development

Machine Learning for the Multiscale Modeling and Analysis of Inelastic

Detailed multiscale computations remain a significant burden in the analysis of composite material systems beyond the linear elastic regime. In this presentation, we describe novel machine learning engines for the rapid evaluation of multiscale stresses for complex microstructure with spatial heterogeneity and variability.

Speaker: Zhengtao Yao, University of Southern California

Multi-functional Composite Material Systems for Vehicle Battery Enclosures (GM)

Novel Methods for Composites Recycling via Pyrolysis

Composites are unique materials in many respects. When fabric woven from carbon fibers is joined with a thermoset resin in a controlled environment, it results in a very strong material, especially evaluated on a pound-for-pound basis against metals and ceramics. One aspect of this construction that provides great strength lies in the fiber-matrix adhesion which facilitates load transfer to the reinforcement of the composite. This fiber-matrix adhesion is promoted by the polarity of the usual thermoset matrices, and properly designed sizing materials coating the fibers. It’s a two-edged sword, though. Although the resin and the fibers are quite strong together, they are very difficult to pull apart once they’re formed, in order to recover the materials and use them again in the future. The crosslinked nature of thermoset matrices dictates combustion as the most viable option for separation of the constituents. As such, composite structures formed with industry-standard thermoset resins have a single-use lifespan. The least expensive end-use option is simply landfill disposal. However, by isolating the dry fibers by burning off the resin (a process called pyrolysis), the fibers are able to be reclaimed and processed again in useful ways. This study focuses on pyrolysis and ways to optimize its process for use of reclaimed carbon fiber. The aim is to showcase its environmentally-friendly capabilities through making new composite structures with fibers reclaimed via pyrolysis to lessen landfill waste.

Speaker:  Matt Jacobs, Northrop Grumman

Sustainability in Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermosets

Decarbonization has been a focus of the world in the past few decades, however, with multiple global headwinds, the progress toward it was already slower than necessary. Carbon fiber reinforced thermosets are advantageous in many applications over incumbent materials and see increasing demand but raise serious environmental and energy concerns when it comes to scrap and waste management. Therefore, how to effectively reclaim carbon fibers and matrix polymer for reuse is critical to retain the embodied energy during manufacturing and the carbon for longer life. The state-of-the-art recycling methods and their shortcomings will be discussed. PNNL’s collaborative efforts with academia and industry in this field will be shared along with our current strategies, challenges, and visions.

Speaker:  Wenbin Kuang, Ph.D., PNNL

Forwarding Looking at Wind Turbine Blade Recycling in the United States

Over recent years, wind turbine blade (WTB) waste management has become a focus and priority of not only the wind industry, but the composites industry as a whole. Due to the polymeric structure, size, and volume of WTBs, decommissioning and recycling at end of service is challenging from a business and engineering perspective. While some WTB recycling occurs in the United States, current infrastructure and businesses are not poised to handle the current number of decommissioned blades and the projected number of blades that will be decommissioned in the coming years. Even with the existing challenges of recycling WTBs, paths forward exist but require further analysis to identify which to innovate and develop further. Here, we will examine opportunities to further WTB recycling beginning from manufacturing and ending with decommissioning and end of service management. The potential pathways for recycling will be identified along with some of the potential advantages and disadvantages associated with each. Furthermore, forecasting of how WTB manufacturing, material selection, and design will affect these recycling pathways will also be discussed. While developments to handle WTB recycling appear to be forthcoming in the United States, robust, economical, and innovated solutions will be required to best utilized WTBs at end of service.

Speaker: Mitch Rencheck, Ph.D., ORNL

Building a Circular Carbon Fibre Industry—Turning Waste Carbon Fibre Into Valuable Raw Material

Realising the full growth potential of the carbon fibre industry means that we have to address the sustainability challenges the industry faces—the high environmental impact of carbon fibre production, the high levels of waste in the industry, and the lack of a mature recycling industry. This presentation looks at these issues, and in particular describes some of the work that is done to create a robust recycling industry that brings carbon fibre waste back to the market. This is illustrated by examining the supply chain from waste through to electric vehicles which use recycled carbon fibre to reduce weight and thereby increase performance. The presentation included forecasts of waste generation and the role that materials made from this waste will play in the overall development of the carbon fibre market.

Speaker:  Frazer Barnes, PNNL

Composites Towards Circularity

Structural Batteries Composites for Mass-less Energy Storage

Structural battery composites belong to a group of materials that can store electrical energy while carry mechanical loads. The multifunctional composite contains carbon fibers that serve simultaneously as an electrode, electron conductor, and reinforcement. The fibres are contained in a structural electrolyte matrix for mechanical load transfer and transport of Lithium ions between the electrodes. Recent research breakthroughs pave the way for essentially ’massless’ energy storage in electric vehicles and other equipment. Massive mass reductions can be achieved as structural battery composite laminates replace parts of the construction materials in, e.g., the body-in-white of a car or the interior of an aircraft and the conventional Li-ion battery.

Speaker: Johanna Xu, Ph.D, Chalmers University of Technology

Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Design and their Applications

The focus of the technical paper will be on technologies and applications for lightweight parts that have additional specific additional functions, such as surface quality or other functionality. The presentation will reflect on manufacturing technologies such as ColorForm (Injection Molded Parts with surface conditioning), FiberForm (processing of organic sheets in the IMM Process), S-RTM (to combine high performance lightweight concepts with surface conditioning) and others with the overall principles of circular economy challenges (especially for fiber reinforced parts), data based process control and analysis and additive manufacturing. Application examples will be systems for hydrogen storage and production of fiber reinforced spar caps for blades of wind energy turbines. Due to its position as a technology supplier into most fields of plastics applications, KraussMaffei can give examples and speak about experiences at the edge between concepts and design on the one side, but actual manufacturing and typical challenges in industrializing an application on the other side. In the End, the presentation will give an outlook on potential future applications and challenges, as well as upcoming innnovative materials (fiber and matrix), and their processing. The presentation will be completed with an insight on challenges of a machine and technology supplier in the reflection of new materials, processes and applications over all.

Speaker:  Sebastian Schmidhuber, KraussMaffei Technologies GmbH

Helicoid™ advanced composite materials for sustainable, high impact performance automotive applications

Details coming soon

Speaker: Lorenzo Mencattelli, Victrex

High Pressure Resin Transfer Molding: A Sustainable Approach for High-rate Manufacturing of Aerospace Composite Parts

Details coming soon

Speaker:  Rebecca Blackham, Henkel

Multifunctional Applicaion
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