Posted in | Aerospace Materials

SABIC Innovative Plastics Introduces New Breakthrough Technology for Semi-Structural Aircraft Interior Parts

At the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas, Sept. 14-16, 2010, SABIC Innovative Plastics has launched a new breakthrough technology for semi-structural aircraft interior parts featuring its high-flying Ultem* polyetherimide (PEI) resin.

New Ultem composite aerospace board (CAB) sheets, co-developed and manufactured with Crane & Co., the global leader in specialty paper, 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 while still meeting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements to extend useful life. The sheets are currently being trialed by a major airline. Together with the expertise of Crane, SABIC Innovative Plastics has launched yet another technology that delivers a cost-effective solution to the global aircraft industry.

SABIC Innovative Plastics and Crane & Company Co-Developed a New Ultem* Composite Aerospace Board for Aircraft Applications like Sidewalls and Ceiling Panels

“With Ultem CAB sheet, SABIC Innovative Plastics and Crane have achieved dramatic advantages over traditional honeycomb composites across the board, from slashing cycle time to doubling part life,” said Kim Choate, global Ultem product market leader, SABIC Innovative Plastics. “With its outstanding safety performance and light weight, Ultem resin has been a winner in aircraft interior applications for many years. Now, this resin, in the form of an Ultem resin and glass fiber-reinforced composite panel, is again demonstrating its remarkable versatility to be utilized in multiple forms and delivering additional value to the aircraft industry. We’re confident that Ultem CAB sheet will become the new gold standard for interior panels.”

“We saw an opportunity to apply our expertise in specialty paper technology in a totally new way, and chose to collaborate with SABIC Innovative Plastics because of its leadership in high-performance materials for aircraft interior applications,” said Dennis Lockyer, vice president of nonwovens and technical materials, Crane & Co. “Ultem resin was the solution we needed to create an innovative and technologically advanced paper composite. Our highly successful relationship with SABIC Innovative Plastics enabled us to diversify our portfolio and target a new market opportunity.”

State-of-the-Art Thermoplastic Composite Technology

The use of advanced thermoplastics to replace traditional thermosets in aircraft interiors offers multiple benefits, including the potential for recycling. The most noteworthy is system cost reduction. Because aramid honeycomb composites are highly sensitive to moisture and ultraviolet (UV) light, the porous edges of a part must be laboriously filled and sealed by hand, a process that can take up to 10 hours. In contrast, Ultem CAB sheet parts can be quickly thermoformed in minutes and need no secondary finishing, thanks to the excellent UV resistance and low moisture absorption properties of Ultem resin. In addition to faster cycle times, Ultem CAB sheet cuts system costs through its ability to be re-skinned while still meeting required flame-smoke-toxicity (FST) properties to lengthen its useful life, an option previously not available to customers with aramid honeycomb composite.

Ultem CAB sheet features the excellent FST performance that Ultem resin is known for. The material exceeds the stringent Ohio State University (OSU) 55/55 standard. Still another benefit is its light weight; Ultem CAB sheet weighs an average 1,350 gm/sq meter, and can be customized to meet a range of part weight requirements.

Target applications for the new composite include sidewalls, cockpit panels, ceiling panels, door liners and dividers.

For additional information on SABIC Innovative Plastics’ Ultem composite aerospace board sheets, please go to www.sabic-ip.com.

SABIC is Exhibiting at K’ 2010 in Düsseldorf, Germany in Hall 6, Stand D42

For K’ 2010, SABIC’s focus is A Culture of Innovation, which means investing in Growth, Technology, Sustainability and Customer Focus. We help our customers to innovate, differentiate their applications and optimize costs by:

  • Investing in global expansion;
  • Providing the broadest product portfolio that delivers better performance and adds value;
  • Developing environmentally responsible products and solutions that provide significant and measurable performance advantages; and
  • Working closely with our customers to build long-term, lasting relationships.

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