Dassault’s Innovative Falcon 7X Extends Composite Use in Aerospace

18 February 2005

Dassault has unveiled the FALCON 7X, a new business jet that exemplifies how new generation aircraft are making greater use of composites.

Dassault have worked in close partnership with Hexcel to develop new parts and new technologies that extend the use of composites in aircraft design. The V10F (Falcon 10), launched in the early 1980’s, was an innovative groundbreaking aircraft, featuring the first carbon wing to obtain FAR/JAR 25 certification.

“For Dassault, the idea is to replace conventional metallic parts that require time consuming assembly with highly integrated composite parts”, said Monsieur Philippe Vautey, New Technologies and Materials Department Manager, aircraft engineering division, from Dassault Aviation.

The Falcon 7X continues this tradition, with further penetration of composites in an aircraft design that makes the most of Hexcel’s latest composite technologies. The Falcon 7X benefits from two differing Hexcel technologies: high performance structural prepregs and direct processing, using a package of advanced multiaxial reinforcements with Resin Transfer Moulding.

Hexcel’s NC2 multiaxial reinforcements are a new concept non crimp technology that provides strength and stiffness exactly where they are required, due to the pre-placement of oriented plies that are joined by stitching technology. NC2 allows great flexibility of fiber orientation and width of the reinforcement and can produce thick materials with thin plies, thereby providing customers with a cost-effective solution that saves time during production. This new technology can accommodate heavy tows and high modulus fibers, with total freedom regarding ply orientation.

Hexcel said that an illustration of the effectiveness of this approach is the vertical stabilizer of the Falcon 7X. Typically built in aluminium on aircraft of this type, the Falcon 7X has a composite vertical stabilizer (carbon, epoxy) built using Resin Transfer moulding technology in a way that is cost-competitive and enables a high production rate. The fin box is manufactured using a one shot RTM process with HexFlow RTM 6 matrix combined with Hexcel NC2 multiaxial reinforcements.

The horizontal tail plane is also a composite construction, made with AS4 Magnamite carbon fibres and with 8552 HexPly prepreg. Many other parts of the Falcon 7X such as interior components, fairings and doors also use HexPly prepregs from Hexcel.

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