The use of engineering plastics in advanced applications in aerospace continues to grow. Technifab Inc. (Avon, OH), for example, recently developed a new high-performance polymeric foam ducting system that features structural components made of AvaSpire polyaryletherketone (PAEK) resin from Solvay Specialty Polymers (Alpharetta, GA).
|Polyaryletherketone resin is employed in the structural end caps and anchors of a ducting system.|
AvaSpire PAEK reportedly provides greater toughness and reduced cost compared to standard polyetheretherketone (PEEK) for interior aerospace applications such as the structural end caps and anchors used in this design. The ultra-high performance polymer also offers greater strength, better creep resistance, and improved hydrolytic stability compared to nylon and other competitive engineering thermoplastics that were also considered, according to Jack DeRuyter, vice president of business development for Technifab. The unfilled AvaSpire PAEK grade also meets the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flammability, Smoke Density, and Toxic Gas Emission (FST) requirements.
The injection molded end caps made of AvaSpire PAEK serve as part of a rigid connector system for the ducting. The 0.25-cm (0.10-in) thick end caps range in diameter from 5.1 to 15.2 cm (2 to 6-in), and are attached to the ducting with an epoxy-based adhesive. AvaSpire PAEK is also used to injection mold the anchors that serve as mounting brackets for the ducting. They have the same dimensions as the end caps and are also attached to the ducting with an adhesive.