Aerospace project secures € 2.5M project to develop novel light-weighting technology

A Consortium of two SMEs (ÉireComposites and Plasma Bound) and Technological University Dublin is delighted to announce that it has successfully obtained funding of € 2.5M for the Ad Astra project. The work will be supported under the DTIF (DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES INNOVATION FUND) Call 5, which is led by the Government of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.

Aerospace project secures € 2.5M project to develop novel light-weighting technology

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Lightweight composite materials are currently under-utilised in the Aerospace industry – their superior strength-to-weight ratio versus metal alloys allows reduced weight and increased fuel efficiency but rapid, cost-effective bonding of these materials is challenging. Effective Surface preparation is a key prerequisite for achieving a strong, durable bond but current surface preparation techniques are highly labour-intensive, drastically increasing process costs.

Plasma Bound has developed a patented, novel surface treatment, called Controlled Polymer Ablation (CPA), which is applied prior to the bonding of lightweight composite materials. This automated and highly repeatable process, previously prototyped successfully by ÉireComposites, selectively removes the top layer of the polymer via plasma ablation with minimal thermal input and without damaging the fibre reinforcement of the composite material.

TU Dublin (CREST), the third partner of this winning team will bring its strong material testing and surface characterisation capabilities to the consortium. These skills will be utilised to show that the CPA process results in significantly higher forces prior to failure. CREST will benchmark the CPA technology against traditionally prepared surfaces and demonstrate improved repeatability, reliability and sustainability.

The development of this plasma ablation process by this DTIF for the Consortium will remove a significant barrier and allow much greater adoption of lightweight materials in multiple areas of the manufacturing process for the aerospace industry and will generate further economic growth in all regions of Ireland and create high-quality jobs for skilled people who live and work in rural Ireland.

More information www.eirecomposites.com