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Addition of Victrex PEEK to Leading Modelling Database Enables Aerospace Engineers to Innovate Faster and Design Lighter Planes

Addition of Victrex PEEK to Leading Modelling Database Enables Aerospace Engineers to Innovate Faster and Design Lighter Planes

  • Tuesday, 24th June 2014
  • Reading time: about 4 minutes

Three high performance thermoplastics from Victrex have been added to a leading material and modelling database called Digimat-MX to accelerate the application development process while helping to minimise component weight and costs.

According to Victrex, the material modelling data stored on the database helps engineers investigate and predict the behaviour of composite materials. These are used, for example, to replace metal parts on commercial aircraft. The software suite from e-Xstream engineering, an MSC Software Company, now offers data on Victrex PEEK 150CA30, Victrex PEEK 90HMF40, and Victrex PEEK 150GL30.  

Victrex explains commercial aircraft manufacturers are particularly focused on finding solutions to replace metals to achieve weight reductions, greater assembly efficiencies, and lower operating and manufacturing costs. For these reasons, it says it is important that design engineers at these companies have quick access to pertinent information regarding a polymer’s performance at various strains, temperatures, and other environmental conditions. Digimat, a nonlinear multi-scale material and structure modelling platform for the micromechanical modelling of composite materials and structures, now contains information on three Victrex grades to expedite the structural analysis and application development processes. The system is a modelling platform that addresses engineering and end-user composite modelling needs while minimising component weight, cost, and time-to-market.

Victrex states that it’s PEEK 150CA30 is typically used to replace metals such as aluminium, titanium and stainless steel. The 30% carbon fibre-filled material offers high stiffness and strength as well as very low flame, smoke, and toxicity (FST) emission ratings. Because it is a high flow plastic, the polymer makes processing on an injection moulding machine easier which can lead to overall cost savings. The material is qualified at Boeing, Airbus, and also meets military specifications.

When looking to extend the performance envelope beyond Victrex PEEK 150CA30, aerospace engineers have qualified Victrex PEEK 90HMF40 to deliver higher mechanical properties. The high modulus, injection-moulding material is described by Victrex as providing the highest strength and stiffness of any Victrex short fibre-filled grade available. Along with exceptional FST and chemical resistance properties, the polymer has a very low viscosity making it easier to fill complex part geometries. According to the company Victrex PEEK 90HMF40, recently qualified by Airbus, delivers up to 100x longer fatigue life and up to 20% higher specific strength and stiffness than aluminium 7075-T6. This can result in more reliable components that require less maintenance over the lifetime of the aircraft.  

Victrex PEEK 150GL30 is a 30% glass fibre-filled polymer that offers a low viscosity to simplify the moulding process. Victrex claims that besides the processing benefits, the polymer delivers a good balance between strength and ductility, is resistant to galvanic corrosion, and has excellent FST properties. The glass-filled material typically replaces polyamides, polyetherimides, and aluminium. It is qualified at Boeing and Airbus.

With weight reduction and assembly efficiency being top priorities, Victrex PEEK 150GL30 was specified by Amphenol PCD for their clamping technologies that replace metal clamps aboard the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. According to Victrex, not only did a smarter design improve installation times by 30% per clamp, but a 20% weight reduction per clamp can help promote fuel efficiency gains.

Victrex PEEK 150CA30, Victrex PEEK 90HMF40, and Victrex PEEK 150GL30 have also been specified in critical applications across various industries. The information on Digimat-MX can serve automotive, oil and gas, consumer electronics, and industrial design engineers in order to speed up their development process.

Photo provided by Victrex

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