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Innovative polymer applications for the aircraft sector

Sabic Innovative Plastics : 06 April, 2011  (Company News)
At the Aircraft Interiors Expo, Sabic Innovative Plastics is spotlighting high-performance thermoplastic resin, sheet, foam and composite solutions that are helping aviation customers meet the critical challenges of weight-out, regulatory compliance, and sustainability
On average, an aircraft will burn about 0.03kg (.06lbs) of fuel for each kilogram (2.2lbs) carried on board per hour. Given that the total commercial fleet flies about 57 million hours per year, cutting one kilogram per flight can save roughly 1,700 tons of fuel and 5,400 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year1. Sabic Innovative Plastics’ new high performance technologies for the aircraft sector can deliver important benefits when they are implemented widely throughout the airlines. For example, by using Lexan* F6000 sheet to replace traditional polyvinyl chloride (PVC)/acrylic products on seating frames, an airline could reduce weight by approximately 23 percent, which is 80kg (176lbs) based on a plane with 190 seats.

The following materials offer compelling weight, performance benefits and compliance for interior applications.

• Lexan XHR (extremely low heat release) 6000 sheet: Lexan XHR sheet provides superior weight-out of up to 12 percent vs. traditional PVC/polymethyl-methacrylate (PMMA) products for better fuel economy. It fully complies with FST requirements (FAR25853) of major airlines for seating, cockpit linings, window surrounds, door shrouds, and other interior components. It can be color-matched in sheet and resin form for color coordinated thermoformed and injection-molded parts.

Geven S.p.A., the leading aircraft seating and interior solutions provider, has chosen Lexan XHR sheet for their new aircraft seating for Carribean Airlines’ Armonia interiors, designed by Giugiaro. The challenging goal of limiting the seat weight to a maximum 9kg (19.8lbs) pressed Geven to explore new, high-performance lightweight material. Lexan XHR sheet was the solution to this challenge due to the material’s compliance with the stringent flame, smoke, heat release and Airbus toxicity requirements. It also provides excellent processability with thermoforming and weight-out vs. traditional polyvinyl chloride/acrylic products.

• Ultem* Composite Aerospace Board (CAB): Ultem CAB sheets, co-developed and manufactured with Crane & Co., provide a superior alternative to thermoset aramid fiber-reinforced honeycomb composites. The Ultem CAB sheets can be quickly thermoformed, offer a broad range of high-performance properties, are recyclable and offer great potential to be refurbished with a newly developed decorative film layer to extend useful life while still meeting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements.

• Carbon-filled Ultem resins: SABIC Innovative Plastics’ 40-percent carbon-filled Ultem resin technologies feature exceptional stiffness and flow. These properties allow production of thin-wall molded parts to replace airline grade die-cast aluminum in structural components for up to 50 percent weight savings and up to 40 percent increase in strength. Potential applications include structural supports, arm rests, foot rests, galley applications such as coffee maker chassis, and tray table arms. Building upon Ultem resin’s proven capabilities for aircraft interiors; carbon-fiber-filled Ultem resin complies with FAA flammability FAR25853, smoke density and heat release requirements for Ohio State University (OSU) standard 65/65.

• Transparent Lexan F2000A sheet: This sheet product offers excellent FST performance and impact strength, and complies with FAR25853 & ABD0031 requirements at 2mm and 3mm, respectively. It is a candidate for windows, light diffusers and signs where clarity is requested. Lexan F2000A sheet provides environmentally responsible flame retardance according to DIN/VDE 0472 part 815.

Light weight, transparent Lexan F2000A sheet was selected by Patrick Lindon, a leading industrial designer for the interior and product design specializing in aircraft interiors and seating, to create its new inflight brochure rack for Bucher Leichtbau AG.

• Transparent Lexan FST copolymer resin: Now available in a clear formulation, this resin offers improved aesthetic flexibility. It can be combined with Lexan XHR sheet in matching colors for components such as personal service units, window reveals and threshold trims, thus eliminating the costs and environmental exposures of secondary painting. It can also be hard coated to enable full compliance for interior applications.

• Extem* UP thermoplastic polyimide (TPI) resins: These flame-retardant, extreme high-heat materials meet UL746B requirements at a Relative Thermal Index (RTI) of 240C, indicating retention of certain mechanical and electrical properties at this temperature over a period of 10 years. By incorporating polyetheretherketone (PEEK) into its proven ultra-performance Extem resin technology, SABIC Innovative Plastics is able to offer customers optimized performance combining the best of both materials. It offers up to five times greater flex strength and up to five times higher stiffness than unfilled PEEK at 200C. It also provides a coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of up to 30 percent lower than unfilled PEEK.

Extem UP thermoplastic resin’s high performance properties gives customers greater design freedom and efficiency, higher strength and stiffness using thinner walls to reduce material weight and costs, and tighter dimensional control for high-precision applications. This unique blend technology opens new opportunities for lower-weight, high-temperature continuous use applications such as semiconductor chip trays, connectors for harsh environments, and metal replacement in high-heat oil and gas and aircraft environments.

SABIC Innovative Plastics is also displaying noteworthy applications: the Crystal Cabin award-winning LSG Sky Chef ultra-light in-flight trolley; a passenger service unit engineered and supplied by PECO Manufacturing for the new Boeing 737 BSI; new generation oven parts from Sell Cabin Interiors GmbH; a magazine/brochure rack from Bucher Leichtbau AG; and a new seating design from Geven S.p.A., a leading aircraft seating and interior solutions provider.

• In-flight trolley from LSG Sky Chef and Norduyn: These ultra-light-weight trolleys – which won the 2010 Crystal Cabin Award in the Green Cabin, Health and Safety category – feature ultraviolet-resistant Ultem resin for their extrusion profiles and door latch and tough Noryl* resin for the frame and other components. The Crystal Cabin Award is the only international award for excellence in aircraft interior innovation.

• Galley inserts from Sell Cabin Interiors GmbH, part of Zodiac Aerospace Group: Ultem resin replaced metal in more than 30 parts to save weight and reduce costs through part consolidation for Sell`s new generation oven. Ultem resin was chosen for the front and door of the bun warmer; the front drip tray, brew head and brew cup of the coffeemaker; the front and door of the oven; and the serving pot, beverage maker and water boiler. Ultem resin enabled greater design freedom and color-matching.

• New cockpit from Pilatus Aircraft Ltd.: Lexan F6000 sheet was tapped by Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. a world-leading manufacturer of single-engine turboprop aircraft and aircraft training systems, to create its new state-of-the-art cockpit. The material gives the OEM superior processability vs. thermosets along with colorability and dimensional stability and complies with industry requirements.
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