A better "substitute" for epoxy resin matrix composites is coming

Apr 22, 2022

Xianji.com/xing xiuyan/2022-04-11 13:43:03 7308 0

The European aerospace sector typically uses lightweight, high-performance thermosetting plastic composites - also known as epoxy matrix composites - in many applications. However, the heat resistance of these materials is not as good as other metal aircraft parts, which may affect the safety when the * * * temperature is reached. In order to improve the weakness of current thermosetting composites in the face of thermal damage, hitcomp research team proposed an alternative: the use of new Paek resin based thermoplastic materials.

Source: University of Carlos III, Madrid
During the development of hitcomp project, components made of thermoplastic substrate are more effective than thermosetting composites from the perspective of thermal performance. A known feature that makes them very useful is that they can be recast, reshaped, processed and recycled without any additional curing process to harden and solidify. In addition, compared with traditional thermosetting composites, they are more versatile, cheaper and environmentally friendly materials, and have longer service life, thanks to their high elasticity (they can be recovered or repaired more easily) and resistance to fatigue (wear and tear) and corrosion The introduction of these materials will mean safer and lighter aircraft that consume less fuel, improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions.

In order to make full use of thermoplastics in the aerospace industry, it is necessary to determine their behavior under thermal, fire and mechanical loads because they will melt and deform when overheated. The hitcomp project has developed a testing laboratory using new infrared (IR) thermal imaging technology to obtain accurate and non-invasive measurements of the actual temperature of materials during fire testing*** The ultimate goal is to conduct virtual test on thermoplastic and compare its performance in practical application with that of traditional thermosetting composites.

"The aerospace sector is transitioning to more electric aircraft. This involves more heat and fire sources, increasing the heating effect on the structure," explained Fernando L ó PEZ, lead researcher and coordinator of the hitcomp project from the uc3m department "In this context, our project aims to establish an innovative method that allows the characterization of thermoplastics, which involves less resources and improves the prediction of their behavior and resistance under mechanical load or fire and high temperature."

The measurement results obtained by infrared thermal imaging can be simulated by computer, so as to virtualize the test to select this type of material in the aviation industry. Its implementation is expected to "significantly reduce the number of validation tests that are mandatory, significantly increase costs and delay approval of such materials in the industry." IR models and equipment have been transferred to Airbus to study their industrial applications.

During the research, the team also developed a new method - inspired by the previous results of uc3m sensor, remote detection and Infrared Imaging Laboratory (LIR infrared Lab) - which allows the use of these infrared imaging technologies to remotely determine the properties of these materials without contact.

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