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Hexcel returns to SAMPE this year, taking a booth at the exhibition and presenting five papers at the technical conference.
The booth displays will represent Hexcel’s key markets of aerospace, wind energy, automotive and recreation. The Aerospace display will feature Hexcel’s products for new aircraft programs such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 7E7.
Exhibits will include an A380 stringer, manufactured in Japan by Jamco, using HexPly M21, Hexcel’s tough, third generation epoxy matrix, with superior damage tolerance and high residual compression strength. In addition to being qualified for use on the A380, HexPly M21 fully meets the requirements of BMS8-276 specification.
HexPly M50 is Hexcel’s newly launched self-adhesive prepreg system for aircraft sandwich panels. This self-adhesive prepreg bonds directly to the honeycomb, thereby eliminating the need for additional adhesive layers between the prepreg skin and the core. Weight savings of up to 10% are achievable by eliminating the adhesive film. Cost savings result not only from the reduced material count but also from the removal of adhesive lay-up operations. The use of HexPly M50 with carbon fabric reinforcements gives peel strengths equal to, or better than, sandwich panels with adhesive plies, as there is excellent fillet formation at nominal resin content. Current panel performance is maintained, with high cured resin modulus, high service temperature, solvent resistance and toughness. An added bonus is the virtual elimination of core-crush problems. Visitors to SAMPE will see a demonstrator sandwich panel with HexPly M50 skins.
Hexcel will promote its novel preform technology, displaying a carbon fibre preform for an aircraft window frame, alongside a fully infused part. Dry preforms are a key step in the manufacture of composites by direct processes such as RTM, RLI and RFI. Hexcel’s proprietary dry tow placement technology is used for aerospace window frame preforms as it optimizes the weight/performance ratio, with each yarn precisely positioned in a fully automated process that accommodates complex geometry. Hexcel’s preforms, combined with proprietary binder technology and infusion resins, achieve a very successful result, even for high curvature parts.
Hexcel’s latest honeycomb innovation for the aerospace industry is HexWeb HRH-36 Flexcore. This new honeycomb combines Hexcel’s unique flexible cell geometry, enabling complex curvatures, with the latest high performance core material. Constructed from Kevlar paper and reinforced with a high temperature resistant phenolic resin, HexWeb HRH-36 Flexcore provides strength retention at up to 175°C/350°F and retains its mechanical properties in a curved condition. HexWeb HRH-36 Flexcore also provides higher shear strengths than comparable hexagonal cores of equivalent density and can therefore give valuable weight savings for an equivalent performance. The honeycomb’s formability into compound curvatures is unsurpassed. Making contoured parts with regular hexagonal honeycomb involves cutting and trimming operations that generate scrap. This material wastage and additional labour is eliminated with Flexcore, and can result in cost-savings. Some parts that could not previously be made with regular hexagonal honeycomb can now have a lightweight sandwich construction thanks to Flexcore. Typical applications are radomes, ducts, leading edges of wings and stabilisers.
Hexcel will display a wind energy blade section, manufactured by the company to demonstrate the various applications for its composite materials in wind blade construction. Hexcel’s product offering for wind turbine blades includes glass and carbon fibre prepregs, HexFIT materials and resins optimised for infusion processes. Hexcel is also a major supplier of peel ply fabrics and has extended its range with gel coats and drilled honeycomb to assist the airflow in tooling.
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