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Hexcel has exhibited for the first time at the China Air Show in Zhuhai this year, by promoting a range of composite technologies for civil aircraft, engines and helicopter programmes.
Hexcel has a strong presence in China with a dedicated sales office and technical support team in Shanghai and a prepreg manufacturing plant in Tianjin.
Hexcel has been supplying composite materials to aerospace customers in China since the first deliveries were made for helicopter programmes in 1984. 28 years later Hexcel products are widely used on Avicopter programmes, including the AC312 for which Hexcel developed the new HexPly® M88 structural prepreg that is being used to manufacture fuselage structures including door frames. Hexcel also supplies Redux® adhesives and HexWeb® honeycomb for the AC312 programme. More recently Hexcel has begun supplying prepreg adhesives and honeycomb for the EC175/AC352 joint programme between Avicopter and Eurocopter.
For civil aircraft Hexcel is a leader in new-generation prepregs for primary and secondary structures. More than 50% of the Boeing 787 airframe and the Airbus A350XWB is carbon fiber composite. Hexcel is a major supplier of materials to both programs and was awarded the contract to supply all the primary structure prepreg (with Hexcel carbon fiber) to the A350XWB program. The HexPly® M21 family of prepregs and new HexPly® M91 offer outstanding all round levels of performance for airframe components on commercial aircraft including regional jets and are suitable for automated and manual lay-up of aircraft structures.
Hexcel has developed a wide range of product solutions for aircraft engines and nacelles, where they provide a number of benefits including weight reduction, fuel optimization, greater strength, higher toughness, high temperature performance, out of autoclave manufacture and broadband noise reduction.
HexWeb® Acousti-Cap® is Hexcel’s broadband sound reducing honeycomb that enables engine designers to achieve superior acoustical performance without a structural weight penalty. Acousti-Cap® consists of a permeable cap material embedded into metallic and non-metallic honeycomb to create an acoustic septum. Customers specify the flow resistance characteristics, overall core thickness, number of caps in a cell and insertion depth. The result is a product tuned to their acoustic requirements. Quieter engines bring a number of advantages including recurring cost-savings from lower landing fees at airports, increased fleet flexibility and improved cabin comfort.
Other composite solutions from Hexcel for aircraft engines include HexFlow® RTM-6 and RTM6-2 resins for resin transfer moulding and HexWeb® engineered core components produced to very tight tolerances using Hexcel’s in-house honeycomb forming and machining capabilities.