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Ticona has received a JEC Innovation Award for the first thermoplastic composite tailplane developed and put into production for a helicopter.
Ticona explains that it uses a composite prepreg made with Fortron polyphenylene sulfide (PPS). Together with Fokker Aerostructures, AgustaWestland and TenCate Aerospace Composites, Ticona will receive the Aeronautics category award at the opening ceremony of the JEC Europe – Composites Show.
According to Ticona, the tailplane which is fitted to the AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter has won the award due to its energy-saving lightness. They say there is a 15% weight reduction compared with previous models made from conventional composites, which makes a considerable contribution to a fuel-saving construction and thus to greater profitability and lower emissions.
Ticona explains that this substantial weight saving is made possible by the high resilience of the thermoplastic material as well as the strength and stiffness of the torsion box designed by Fokker Aerostructures in multi-spar construction. It says the economical manufacture of this complex component results from the co-consolidation of simple preforms. Ticona test results show excellent durability and impact strength of the thermoplastic leading and trailing edges, which among the other advantages of the tailplane construction awarded the prize by the jury of experts.
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