Latest innovation in aerospace applications include Hitape and Himax dry carbon reinforcements, which have been developed by Hexcel to complement a new generation of Hiflow resin systems producing high quality aerospace structures using the resin infusion process, said the company in a press release.
Hitape was developed for the automated lay-up of preforms and Himax is a range of optimised non-crimp fabrics (NCF). Both products incorporate a toughening veil to enhance mechanical properties, meeting the structural requirements for aerospace parts.
Visitors to JEC will see an Integrated Wing Panel demonstrator and an i-beam, both made with Hitape reinforcements, and an Opticoms rib made with Himax NCF. The Opticoms rib and i-beam were both manufactured using C-RTM (Compression Resin Transfer Molding). They were injected with Hexcel’s RTM6 resin.
Also among the aerospace exhibits, Hexcel will display a composite petal for a satellite antenna, manufactured by Thales Alenia Space Italia. The petal is part of a set of 24 deployable structural elements that form the large area reflector assembly used on board of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observation satellites. Thales Alenia Space Italia selected Hexcel’s Hexply M18 prepreg for this application, acknowledging the superior mechanical and outgassing properties provided.
Another Hexcel prepreg application on show is a ‘zero’ frame, manufactured by Aerofonctions for the engine area of Daher’s TBM 910/930 single-engine turboprop aircraft. Hexcel’s Hexply M56 prepreg was selected by Daher for its ‘zero’ frame – a product developed for Out of Autoclave applications that provides the same high quality and performance as autoclave-cured prepregs, from a simple vacuum bag cure in an oven.
With 50 years of experience behind its comprehensive range of high-strength, high-strain PAN-based carbon fibres, Hexcel continues to innovate, and is introducing two new fibres to its portfolio. Hextow HM50 combines high modulus and high tensile strength, making it ideal for commercial and defense aircraft and engines. Hextow 85 was developed specifically to replace rayon-based carbon fiber for ablative applications.
Hextow carbon fibre holds the most qualified carbon fibre positions on aerospace programmes in the industry and is the best unsized fibre available on the market. It provides excellent bonding interfacial properties with thermoplastic matrices and is the best-performing fibre for 3D printing applications.
Additive manufacturing is another area of expertise for Hexcel, using Pekk ultra-high performance polymers and HexAM technology to manufacture carbon-reinforced 3D printed parts. This innovative process provides a weight-saving solution for intricate parts in highly demanding aerospace, satellite and defense applications. Hexpekk structures offer significant weight, cost and time-to-market reductions, replacing traditional cast or machined metallic parts with a new technology.
Hexcel is well known for its range of weight-saving, stiffness-enhancing honeycombs and the company adds value by providing a range of engineered core solutions to customers from facilities in the USA, Belgium and the newly opened Casablanca plant in Morocco. Hexcel’s engineered core capabilities enable highly contoured parts with precision profiling to be produced to exacting customer specifications. An example of such a part will be on display at JEC. Made from Aluminum Flexcore, the part is CNC machined on both sides, and formed and stabilised with both peel ply and flyaway layers of stabilisation.
Aircraft engines benefit from a number of Hexcel core technologies including Hexshield honeycomb that provides high temperature resistance in aircraft engine nacelles. By inserting a thermally resistant material into honeycomb cells, Hexcel provides a core product with unique heat-shielding capabilities that allows for the potential re-use of material after a fire event.
Hexcel’s Acousti-Cap broadband noise-reducing honeycomb significantly improves acoustic absorption in aircraft engine nacelles. The acoustic treatment may be positioned at a consistent depth and resistance within the core, or can be placed in a pattern of varying depths and/or resistances, offering an acoustic liner that is precisely tuned to the engine operating conditions. These technologies have been tested at NASA on a full engine test rig and meet all 16 design conditions without trade-offs. (PC)
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