By Dr. Cameron Chai
Umeco has declared that GE Aviation is using the MTM44-1 Out-of-Autoclave (OoA) prepregs to build the mid and outer section of the fixed trailing edge panels for use in the Airbus A350 XWB wing.
GE Aviation ordered for manufacturing the initial 18 shipsets, which will be utilized for producing honeycomb sandwich structures with the help of OoA processing.
In 2008, Umeco’s MTM44-1 structural, OoA prepreg resin system was used in the primary sub-scale wing box demonstrator, built for the Advanced Low Cost Aircraft Structures (ALCAS) joint research program. The potential of this OoA material was assessed by its usage in the wing box demonstrator. This was achieved as part of an Airbus and Dassault Aviation led programme aimed at validating the designs and technologies for lower cost aircraft structures.
Airbus inked a framework contract with Umeco to strengthen the MTM®44-1 qualification. This agreement offered technical and commercial stability to sub-contractors of Airbus, who implements this recent technology.
This MTM44-1 prepregs have been optimised for processing of vacuum-bag at low pressure in order to offer low internal void content together with the performances of the composites, which are compared with the standard autoclave cured systems. The advantages of the OoA moulding include savings on processing costs and decreased capital equipment outlay. This technology may allow the production of large integrated structures and the prohibitive investment that was needed for in-autoclave processing.