The latest advancements show that thermoplastics can be used in more, increasingly large primary structure components, Aviation Week reports. Fokker manufactures the horizontal tail of the in-development AgustaWestland AW169 medium twin helicopter - a15% weight savings over previous composite technology, Fokker claims, thanks to the stiffness of the material. The Dassault Falcon 5X, scheduled to perform its first flight next year, and the in-service Gulfstream G650 business jets have their rudder and elevators made of thermoplastics.
Airbus appears relatively conservative on the A350 XWB, which uses thermoplastic clips and brackets.
On the Boeing 787, Montreal-based Marquez supplies thermoplastic air ducts for personal service units. In cabin interiors, thermoplastics have been increasingly used for the thinner part design they enable, their straightforward manufacturing and their excellent behavior in flame, smoke and toxicity tests.
In Enschede, Netherlands, the Thermoplastic composites research center (TPRC) has attracted Boeing, Fokker, TenCate, Daher-Socata and the university of Twente. The TPRC’s activities have taken place in aerospace so far, but automotive has just been added.