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Hexcel Duxford Celebrates 80 Years of Innovation in Composites

  • Tuesday, 15th April 2014
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  • Reading time: about 2 minutes

Hexcel is celebrating the 80th anniversary of its site in Duxford, UK.

Originally registered as Aero Research Limited, the company acquired the site on 7th April 1934 by Cambridge University Don Dr Norman de Bruyne, who wished to use the 50 acre site as an airfield to indulge his passion for flying – and to carry out research into synthetic adhesives and composites for aircraft construction.

Hexcel explains that an early success at the site was Aerolite, which, winning approval from the UK Air Ministry for use in aircraft construction, was used in the de Havilland Mosquito.  Duxford scientists went on to invent Redux, the first metal-to-metal adhesive for bonding aircraft structures – and to manufacture aluminium honeycomb, based on a patent that de Bruyne had filed in 1938.

Roll forward 80 years and Hexcel says the Duxford site continues to make breakthroughs in composites technology that benefit the world of aerospace and other high performance industries including automotive and wind energy.  Hexcel’s European centre for Research and Technology developed the HexPly fibre-reinforced resin system selected by Airbus for all primary composite structures on the new A350 XWB – an aircraft that is 53% composites.  The Duxford site is also Hexcel’s UK manufacturing plant, producing resin films, fibre-reinforced resins (called pre- pregs), adhesives and lightweight honeycomb structures.


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