Spring 2015 heralded the start of a new research project for Huntsman Advanced Materials on Toughened Thin Ply Composites for Aerospace Applications (TPCA).
Partially funded by the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) of the Swiss Confederation, the TPCA two-year programme will see Huntsman work alongside academic and industrial partners taking part in thin ply research for aerospace applications. The goal of this research is to improve the toughness of thin ply composites in order to meet or exceed aerospace requirements.
According to Huntsman, the project will benefit from a multitude of skills, as each business inputs its specific proficiencies; North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT) – manufacturer of the World’s lightest prepreg tape – will produce the prepregs using its unique, thin-ply technique. Two prestigious educational establishments, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), will also support the programme by carrying out testing on the composites and on the neat resin. With renowned expertise in the aerospace industry, Huntsman will be supporting NTPT to improve the toughness of their system.
Further to this, other partners working on this research are RUAG Aerostructures and Decision.
Huntsman explains that a previous CTI research and development study from 2013 and 2014 revealed that thinner ply laminates demonstrate significantly higher strengths than laminates using conventional plies. The purpose of this research is to further enhance the toughness of thin ply composites in order to meet and potentially exceed aerospace requirements.
Phillipe Christou, Head of European Technical Support at Huntsman Advanced Materials says that the company’s reputation for innovation has always acted as a catalyst for projects with the academic community. “Our business philosophy is strongly influenced by the belief that pure and applied research go hand-in-hand. Working with partners of this calibre, we ensure that advance of our knowledge is rapidly exploited for the benefit of our customers and the market sector that they serve.”
Timely research such as this study in TPCA can only benefit the industry over the years to come, anticipating the increased role of composites in the sector.
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