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Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) chose the forward belly fairing of the new Gulfstream G150 business jet as a pilot project to apply Liquid Resin Infusion (LRI) to the manufacture of components for manned aircraft.
The part has a very complex geometry and measures approximately 2 x 2 meters. Based on the main load cases (aerodynamic pressure and overpressure), a carbon fibre sandwich design using a high-performance Rohacell 71 RIST (Resin Infusion Structural) foam core was chosen. The tailormade structural foam core has 50 percent smaller cells than the Rohacell grades used for prepreg/autoclave manufacture. Due to the significantly lower viscosity of infusion resins, the use of smaller cells leads to less surface resin absorption and helps ensure good skin-to-core adhesion..
The manufacturing concept of the belly fairing is based on multifunctional use of the foam, which serves as the mandrel, preform carrier and structural sandwich core. The NC-machined and thermoformed core segments were provided by the Rohacell Shapes Department and the stitched preform concept was realized by a single-sided robotic tufting and stitching process. The vacuum infusion process uses resin distribution media, and the resin flow strategy for the LRI process was successfully adopted according to results obtained from small-scale infusion trials. The component passed intensive static and dynamic testing plus the required flight testing, and the aircraft received full FAA approval at the end of 2005.
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