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Solvay Highlighted High Performance Thermoplastics at Aerospace Components Materials Expo

Published on 2015-08-21. Author : SpecialChem

XI’AN, China -- Solvay Specialty Polymers, among the leading global suppliers of high-performance thermoplastics, presented its full range of ultra-high performance polymeric materials for applications in the aviation industry at the Aerospace Components Materials Expo 2015 (August 14-16) in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China. In addition to a growing selection of aviation-certified polymers, the company also featured recently introduced innovative specialty foam solutions designed to further optimize the weight/performance ratio in this demanding industry.

Fig. 1: Solvay

“Manufacturers in China’s rapidly growing commercial aviation market are increasingly looking for higher-performance thermoplastic materials to improve part performance, extend service life and integrate functionality,” says Armin Klesing, business development manager, Aerospace & Composites, for Solvay Specialty Polymers. “As industry leaders in high performance polymers for aerospace applications, we offer a broad range of materials solutions addressing these challenges while at the same time boosting the productivity and the competitiveness of our customers.”

To meet the demand to replace heavier metal or solid plastic structures, Solvay recently introduced a new generation of aerospace foams based on Radel® polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) polymer and branded TegraCore™. An easy to process structural foam, TegraCore™ is a component of TegraLite™, a new family of high performance light-weighting materials solutions from Solvay addressing the needs of the aeronautic industry to improve fuel efficiency and to reduce waste and speed the production, refurbishment and maintenance of aircraft at a lower cost.

TegraCore™ is targeted at a wide range of high-volume insulating and structural components in aerospace, ranging from seat shells, privacy panels, luggage bins and galleys to cargo holds, radomes and engine components. The specialty foam offers excellent resistance to aerospace liquids and superior impact strength over traditional honeycomb cores. Lightweight sandwich solutions with TegraCore™ PPSU in full compliance with the most demanding fire, smoke and toxicity (FST) requirements are being developed and commercialized in partnerships with various leading composite materials suppliers. First applications are already flying aboard the Airbus A350 XWB and Solar Impulse 2 aircraft. The base resin of TegraCore™, Radel® PPSU, has a track record of over 25 years in a broad range of aircraft interior applications in many different types of aircraft including Boeing’s 737, 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 airplanes, as well as the Airbus A320.

Spearheading Solvay’s polymers portfolio for aerospace, the company’s Spire® Ultra Polymers have proven to provide best-in-class properties for long-life performance in highly demanding applications. They combine inherent FST properties with outstanding strength at low weight and excellent resistance to a wide range of aggressive chemicals and fluids commonly used in the aviation industry. This meets the demands of airlines to reduce their operational costs through better fuel efficiency and lower maintenance. Manufacturers benefit from the polymers’ ease of fabrication using traditional melt processes and machining.

Many of these materials have been qualified by leading aircraft manufacturers, including a range of KetaSpire® polyetheretherketone (PEEK) resins selected by Shanghai-based Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) for use on its next-generation C919 family of narrow-body aircraft. Offering excellent strength and stiffness, as well as superior fatigue and chemical resistance, along with a continuous use temperature rating of 240°C, these KetaSpire® grades are also expected to replace metal in various applications on the twin-engine COMAC ARJ21 regional aircraft.

Typical aerospace applications in PEEK include electrical and mechanical attachments, covering films for thermally acoustic insulation blankets, sheets and laminates, electrical connectors, and a variety of hardware formerly produced in metal or standard engineering plastics such as nylon. With its AvaSpire® AV-600 and AV-700 series of polyaryletherketone (PAEK) materials, Solvay also offers an extremely versatile family of Spire® Ultra Polymers designed to bridge the gap between KetaSpire® PEEK and other high-performance polymers, while delivering a range of distinctive cost/performance advantages over historical PEEK. New 30% glass-filled AvaSpire® AV-652, for instance, provides significantly higher strength and stiffness as well as impact resistance vs. traditional glass-filled PEEK at similar loading and melt flow. It also demonstrates a lower absolute crystallinity level, resulting in lower mold shrinkage and better dimensional control for structural and metal replacement applications that must be molded to tight tolerances.

Solvay’s Ultra Polymers portfolio for the aviation industry is complemented by Torlon® polyamide-imide (PAI), which features exceptional wear resistance in dry and lubricated environments and retains its toughness, high strength and high stiffness up to 275°C. Furthermore, Torlon® PAI maintains its outstanding creep and chemical resistance even in contact with strong acids and most organics, making it an ideal candidate for components such as thrust washers and bearings. Other proven aerospace products include Ixef® PARA (polyarylamide) for molded seat components, Solef® PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride) foams for interior components in partnership with JSP, Tecnoflon® fluoroelastomers for extreme sealing applications, Galden® PFPE (perfluoropolyether) fluorinated heat-exchange fluids as well as Virantage® polyethersulfone (PESU) epoxy tougheners for composites and high-performance films from Ajedium™ Films, a division of Solvay Specialty Polymers.

Solvay’s market and polymer experts will be available on Booth B14 in Hall B3 during the Aerospace Components Materials Expo in Xi'an to explain how the company’s innovative material solutions can help boost the performance and profitability of next-generation aerospace applications.

About Solvay

As an international chemical group, Solvay assists industries in finding and implementing ever more responsible and value-creating solutions. Solvay generates 90% of its net sales in activities where it is among the world's top players. It serves many markets, varying from energy and the environment to automotive and aeronautics or electricity and electronics, with one goal: to raise the performance of its clients and improve society's quality of life. The group is headquartered in Brussels, employs about 26,000 people in 52 countries and generated 10.2 billion euros in net sales in 2014. Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on EURONEXT Brussels and EURONEXT Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB:BB - Reuters: SOLB.BR).

Source: Solvay

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