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AVIATION

Aircraft engineers are looking at engineering plastics to reduce the dry weight of aircraft without sacrificing physical performance of the metal parts they are replacing. They require lightweight materials that provide processing flexibility, reduce manufacturing costs, and provide durability in harsh environments. Engineering plastics and composites have successfully displaced metals in a growing number of aerospace applications because they are exceptionally strong, inert, and inherently flame retardant, and can be easily fabricated into tight tolerance parts.

In addition to standard stock shapes of engineering plastics, aerospace components can also be manufactured using a matrix for thermoplastic composite prepregs made of carbon, glass or aramid continuous fibres. Its outstanding properties make it an excellent substitute for metals and thermoset composites. Composite materials can provide a much better strength-to-weight ratio than metals: sometimes by as much as 20% better. The lower weight results in lower fuel consumption and emissions and, because plastic structures need fewer riveted joints, enhanced aerodynamic efficiencies and lower manufacturing costs.

Carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) derives its high structural performance from the prodigious strength of the individual strands of carbon. By way of comparison, the ultimate strength of aerospace grade aluminium alloys is typically 450MPa whilst that of a carbon fibre would be five times that value. As carbon composites are, additionally, only 60% of the density of aluminium, the potential for weight reduction in an airframe application is also apparent. In addition to strength and weight, fibrous composites are thought to be virtually immune from ‘fatigue’.

  • High thermal and mechanical stability
  • Inherent flame, smoke and toxicity resistance
  • Low degree of thermal expansion
  • High chemical resistance even at raised temperatures
  • Low level of outgassing in vacuum
  • Good electrical insulation
  • Resistance to aviation fuels
  • Sealing characteristics
  • Bearing and wear characteristics
  • Electric wire bundle and tubing clamps
  • Insulation cover films
  • Impeller blades
  • Composite fasteners
  • Door Handles
  • Radomes
  • Manhole covers
  • Landing Gear hubcabs
  • Pylon fairings
  • Bushing
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