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A lightweight damage resistant composite fuel pipe assemblies

News International-French

23 May 2017

Tods Aerospace, a Unitech Aerospace Company and leader in advanced composite materials technologies, has completed an 18 month project to develop lightweight damage resistant composite fuel pipe assemblies that by virtue of their tightly controlled electrical properties can be used safely in composite aircraft fuel tanks.

A lightweight damage resistant composite fuel pipe assemblies

The project was part funded by the UK National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) and supported by Airbus Operations Ltd. The contributing partners were Technical Fibre Products (TFP), Element Materials Technology and ENL Ltd.

The adoption of composite fuel pipe assemblies has the potential for weight savings over metallic equivalents however further weight and cost reductions are possible not only by optimising the composite materials and manufacturing process, but also by introducing novel means of achieving the tightly controlled electrical properties.

The materials and techniques developed for manufacturing the pipe assemblies have been chosen to enable automation of the process to allow efficient mass production. A static and fatigue test program has demonstrated that thin wall composite pipes with conductive injection moulded end-fittings can easily withstand internal and external pressure load cases and are highly resistant to impact damage and fatigue cycles.

“Tods Aerospace strives to be a major contributor to advancing composite technology and we are very proud of this accomplishment as it speaks to the ability and innovation of our hardworking team,” said Pete Eckersall, Vice President and Managing Director for Tods Aerospace.

NATEP is a £40 million technology development program derived from a bid by the Aerospace Growth Partnership to the Government’s advanced manufacturing supply chain Initiative. The goal of the program is to mature undeveloped aerospace technologies and increase manufacturing jobs in the UK.