Polymer passes Airbus qualification for lightweight aerospace components

28-Jun-13
Successful qualification of PEEK 90HMF40 polymer with Airbus has been secured by leading manufacturer of PEEK polymer solutions Victrex. The cooperation along the entire supply chain, from the material supplier to the OEM, is a crucial factor, especially as the aerospace industry continues to focus on replacing metals with plastics to reduce aircraft weight. The thermoplastic qualified by Airbus is a high-flow, easy-processing material that results in parts with a high modulus. This provides an advantage helping engineers to design components that can deliver an equivalent strength and stiffness at up to 70% lighter weights when compared to traditional aerospace metals such as stainless steel, titanium, and aluminium. “Victrex strives to work with our customers at all levels to develop and deliver solutions for the toughest challenges,” said Harald Hedderich, aerospace strategic marketing manager, Victrex Polymer Solutions. “Removing as little as 100 pounds (45 kilograms) can result in up to US$10,000 in annual fuel cost savings per long-range plane. We are excited for the opportunities that the VICTREX PEEK 90HMF40 qualification can bring given airline demands to improve fuel efficiency.” While standard unfilled, carbon fibre, and glass fibre filled VICTREX PEEK polymers have been qualified for more than 25 years in some instances, VICTREX PEEK 90HMF40 delivers several key benefits those grades cannot. The high-modulus polymer provides up to 100 times longer fatigue life and up to 20% higher specific strength and stiffness when compared to aluminium 7075-T6 under the same conditions. These high mechanical properties, its ability to perform across a broad temperature range and its durability in chemically aggressive environments allows VICTREX PEEK polymers to continue to be a material of choice for the aerospace industry, says the company.
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