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Globally, future-focused aerospace original equipment manufacturers are demontrating increased interest in platform technologies that accelerate new aircraft model introductions and design transitions, while also reducing non-recurring qualification costs.
(Published on July 2006 – JEC Magazine #26)
BY MARC DOYLE, GLOBAL PREFORMS AND RESIN INFUSION MATERIALS TECHNOLOGY MANAGER, CYTEC ENGINEEREDMATERIALS
It’s no surprise that OEMs are relying on advanced materials for technical expertise and composite solutions that offer material durability and multi-functionality to reduce weight and improve aircraft operating costs.
Cytec’s PRIFORM technology combines the benefits of engineered textile preforms with proprietary resin-infusion science to enable numerous aerospace affordability initiatives, such as faster lay-down rates, structural unitization and lower capital outlays versus automated processes.
Airbus and engineered material
Today resin infusion processes have moved far beyond fittings applications and are being considered by aircraft manufacturers for large primary structures such as the empennage and fuselage. Soluble fibre is a spearheading technology that is unlocking neverbefore- available opportunities in the aerospace market.
A quantifiable example of the value proposition of engineered textile preforms and resin-infusion science is the unique design of the Airbus A330/A340 spoiler, which is a result of a long-term partnership between Airbus, Cytec Engineered Materials and Fischer Advanced Composites Components (FACC).
Cytec and FACC garnered the 2004 JEC Innovation Award in the air transport category for a composite centre hinge fitting that replaced a forged aluminium component. The part is now in service on the Airbus A340-600 commercial jet.
A bright future full of advantages
The innovative FACC spoiler design, in tandem with Cytec’s proprietary PRIFORM 977-20 resin-infusion material, has delivered numerous advantages.
With properties equivalent to Cytec’s heritage toughened primary structure 977-2 prepreg, PRIFORM 977-20 resininfusion material reduces qualification time and delivers unrivalled RTM performance while reducing manufacturing and assembly costs.
PRIFORM fibre has unique self-binding properties that eliminate the challenges associated with binders and fabric cold storage and allow for efficient preforming of complex geometries.
977-20 resin has very low viscosity and a favourable processing window, which allows for infusion of complex 3-D geometry. The PRIFORM fabric, in conjunction with the 977-20 resin, delivers high matrix toughness that enables complex geometrical transitions and damage tolerance.
The spoiler was re-engineered to better leverage the design and manufacturing advantages of composites, which led to an integrated spoiler assembly and very significant total weight savings per ship set, elimination of 22 bolts and carbon plugs (and the associated weight, labour and downstream customer maintenance), and elimination of anti-corrosion plies needed between a metal fitting and a composite spoiler.