Aviation Enterprises says the introduction of the new materials will result in substantial cost savings for future tidal blade designs.
The company claims they are quicker to process and offer substantially higher performance than their predecessors at no increase in cost/kg.
The company explains that whilst superficially similar to the second generation prepreg materials used to date, the third generation materials take advantage of a new, high-toughness resin that is particularly resistant to moisture ingress. The company claims the incorporation of these materials in a special format ensures near-autoclave laminate quality whilst enabling the elimination of interim debulks during layup.
Aviation Enterprises believe that consequent labour savings of approximately 30% are anticipated during lamination, and typicalreal world performance gains of 18% (tension) and 36% (compression) are achievable due to the optimisation of ply thickness and careful focus on critical laminate details.
The company state the new materials are supported by comprehensive accredited test data, covering fatigue performance and the effects of seawater immersion in addition to more routine information. This development is the latest result of AEL’s ongoing tidal blade development programme which has involved significant collaborations with suppliers and universities, and has been assisted by the Carbon Trust and Technology Strategies Board.
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