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India advances in aerospace composites

The upcoming Aero-India show in Bangalore, from 6th to 10th February 2013 will feature a smorgasbord of composite solutions from Hexcel Composites Ltd.  (Cambridge, UK) including prepregs, fabrics, resins, honeycombs and adhesives. Hexcel already has a track record of shipments of these products to customers including Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), National Aerospace Lab (NAL), Indian Space Research Organisation, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and TATA Advanced Materials.

The upcoming Aero-India show in Bangalore, from 6th to 10th February 2013 will feature a smorgasbord of composite solutions from Hexcel Composites Ltd.  (Cambridge, UK) including prepregs, fabrics, resins, honeycombs and adhesives. Hexcel already has a track record of shipments of these products to customers including Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), National Aerospace Lab (NAL), Indian Space Research Organisation, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and TATA Advanced Materials.

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Airbus A350 XWB employs composite components manufactured in India. The aircraft's structure is over 50% composites.

For example TATA Advanced Materials make spars and composite panels for the Airbus A350 XWB using Hexcel's HexPly M21E/IMA prepreg. The A350 XWB is the first Airbus to have a structure that is over 50% composites and Hexcel is supplying the carbon fiber prepreg for all of the A350 XWB primary structures. The A350 XWB will make its maiden flight later this year.

Technologies on show from Hexcel at Aero India 2013:

HexFlow RTM6-2; A new bi-component version of Hexcel's highly successful RTM6 resin that has many years proven service and is favored for its high glass transition temperatures and short cure cycles. Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) allows high quality components to be manufactured, in low to medium volume production rates, without using autoclaves. Large complex shapes can be achieved with good surface quality and a reduced part count. With the same chemical composition as RTM6, HexFlow RTM6-2 provides the same high mechanical properties as the original resin and is easy to transport by air or sea outside Europe. An added advantage is that the bi-component system can be stored at +5°C for 12 months (rather than the 9 months at -18°C for the original HexFlow RTM6).

HexTow IM10: The latest carbon fiber offering the tensile strength of 1,010 ksi or 6,964 MPa, making it particularly suitable for next generation aircraft and engine structures.

HexPly M91: A new epoxy prepreg developed by Hexcel for airframe primary structures and engines that meets the ever growing needs of aerospace OEMs to manufacture lighter, faster and more efficient aircraft. HexPly M91 reportedly demonstrates excellent toughness, including very high residual compression after impact (CAI). It gives improved tensile performance in combination with both Intermediate Modulus (IM) and High Strength (AS) HexTow fibers; in particular, achieving outstanding performance in combination with Hexcel's new HexTow IM10 fiber. Good hot-wet properties up to 120°C (250°F) are also said to be obtained.

HexPly M91 is supplied as UD tape and is suitable for automated processes including automated tape laying (ATL) and advanced fiber placement (AFP). Good tack life and out-life provide flexibility during processing on the shop floor and low exotherm behavior allows simple cure cycles of thick monolithic structures up to 70mm (2.76").

HexPly M65: Hexcel's bismaleimide (BMI) prepreg system for aircraft structures, giving good tack and handleability, making it well suited for fiber placement applications.

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