DSM Moves into Aviation Market Following Deal with LH Aviation

28 May 2008

DSM Composite Resins has entered the aviation market thanks to cooperation with the French aircraft manufacturer LH Aviation.

The link is underlined by the launch of a new grade of DSM turane resin, which can be cured at room temperature, making it easier and faster to use in the production process of composite parts. LH Aviation will use turane resins for its new aircraft, the LH-10 Ellipse.

The LH-10 Ellipse is a fully-developed carbon fibre aircraft offering outstanding visibility to pilots. This two-seater plane works in tandem with a pusher configuration. The Ellipse is one of the quickest and most ecological planes of its kind. It flies at 370 Km/h (200kts), faster than competitors. It is able to cross France without stopover for example, thanks to its self-autonomy of 1600km, consuming only 20L /h which is equal to 5 litres per 100 km. This is similar consumption of fuel to that of a car. Furthermore it has a low noise nuisance level.

“For successful cooperation you need two companies who share a common vision,” says Sébastien Lefebvre, CEO of LH Aviation. “Working with DSM will enable us to significantly accelerate the production of the LH-10 Ellipse. Using turane resins the composite parts are higher quality and lighter weight as well as having a significantly shorter processing time. We tested a number of other resins before selecting DSM which was by far the best option.”

“This is a first and significant step for DSM,” says Christophe Bourban, new business development manager aviation, at DSM Composite Resins. “Our new turane resin has many enhanced performance capabilities over existing epoxy resins. Working with LH Aviation has enabled us to showcase the quality of this product and demonstrate its optimum suitability for the General Aviation (small aircraft) market.”

To address the needs of the aviation market, DSM Composite Resins had to demonstrate high mechanical performance and robust room temperature infusing and curing methods. DSM’s turane resins and the LH-10 Ellipse are currently being certified in accordance with the CS23 European aviation regulations.

Using turane will enable LH Aviation to produce aircraft composite parts in a closed mould process, which delivers high reproducibility and is safe for operators. DSM is now in the final stage of formally making this new product available for the General Aviation (small aircraft) segment and is setting up the industrial phase of production and distribution.

DSM’s new turane resin can be infused and cured at room temperature using a short polymerisation cycle. After a short cure time at room temperature the part can be demoulded. The mould is then ready for a new infusion. This accelerates significantly the production process and reduces the number of moulds required. Its high performance level is achieved by a short high-temperature, free-standing post-curing cycle. Its reachable Tg (Glass Transition Temperature) is in the region of 100°C to 220°C, depending on the resin grade.

DSM has also developed a resin suitable for vacuum infusion applications based on the turane resin. Vacuum infusion is used for large commercial aircraft, but had not become an established process in general aviation. Following the link with LH Aviation the vacuum infusion manufacturing process is being used in general aviation, together with a new grade of turane resin which has a high level of mechanical performance. In addition to aviation industry applications turane resin has benefits for automotive, marine and wind energy & infrastructure sectors.

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