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Polycarbonate copolymers enable aircraft-compliant sheet extrusion down to 1.5 mm; are injection moldable and halogen-free

Polycarbonate copolymers enable aircraft-compliant sheet extrusion down to 1.5 mm; are injection moldable and halogen-free
Sabic Innovative Plastics has unveiled two new grades of Lexan CFR polycarbonate (PC) copolymers that will help aircraft OEMs, designers, and manufacturers realize new weight-out strategies while meeting the industry's strict regulatory demands at the Aircraft Interiors Expo running April 9-11 in Hamburg, Germany. These compliant materials reportedly enable processors to produce parts with thinner walls, which help reduce interior weight of an aircraft. 

Sabic Innovative Plastics has unveiled two new grades of Lexan CFR polycarbonate (PC) copolymers that will help aircraft OEMs, designers, and manufacturers realize new weight-out strategies while meeting the industry's strict regulatory demands at the Aircraft Interiors Expo running April 9-11 in Hamburg, Germany. These compliant materials reportedly enable processors to produce parts with thinner walls, which help reduce interior weight of an aircraft. 

PC copolymers open up lightweighting opportunities for aircraft.
"These materials represent a major step forward in thin-wall designs for aircraft interiors," says Kim Choate, Global Mass Transportation Leader, Innovative Plastics. "They can help meet the challenges manufacturers are having with traditional materials, particularly transparent resins that do not support regulatory compliance at thinner gauges. Our Lexan CFR copolymers, however, meet the most stringent FST standards while opening up entirely new opportunities to reduce weight and conserve space in a wide array of interior applications."

The PC copolymers give customers the ability to mold or extrude parts with very thin walls (down to 1.5 mm) while complying with leading flame, smoke and toxicity (FST) standards with halogen-free flame retardant technology to support sustainability. Lexan CFR5630 copolymer, available in transparent and opaque formulations, is a material of choice for lenses, light rails and seating components, while Lexan CFR5630D copolymer, the diffusion grade, is aimed at light-emitting diode (LED) lighting applications

Lexan  CFR5630 and  CFR5630D grades meet the requirements of the FAR 25.853 vertical burn test at 1.5 mm—a milestone for PC materials. These grades also passed the test at 2 mm and 3 mm. In addition, Sabic will qualify each single production lot according to the FAR 25.853 regulation to assure customers of its suitability for use in aircraft cabin interiors.

For smoke density according to ASTM E662, the materials performed extremely well at low rates such as Ds 58 (at 3 mm) and Ds 68 (at 2 mm) according to independent lab testing. Compared to competitive materials such as polyvinyl chloride/polymethyl methacrylate (PVC/PMMA), which can experience compliance issues, the Sabic grades are said to meet tough commercial toxicity standards from Airbus and Boeing.

These non-brominated, non-chlorinated, non-phosphate and non-halogenated flame-retardant Sabic materials also comply with major environmental protocols such as the European Union (EU) Directive on Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and TCO99 International, supporting environmental responsibility.

An important advantage of these new grades is their ability to be used for both extrusion and injection molding applications. Typically, customers would require two different products with different flow behaviors for extrusion and injection molding. Lexan CFR5630 and CFR5630D grades have a special feature called the shear-thinning effect. It allows the product to flow slowly in low shear conditions, such as the extrusion process, and to flow quickly in high-shear processes, such as injection molding. This versatility will enable customers to avoid the effort and time required to certify two different products; instead they can use the same Sabic material for two different processes.

Lexan CFR5630D copolymer for LED lighting offers wide-angle light scattering for excellent aesthetics combined with optimal light transmission. This material can be used for a range of aircraft lighting applications. It is ultraviolet- (UV) stabilized for improved color stability over the lifetime of the part. Sabic offers it in five pre-selected diffusive colors.

Lexan CFR5630 copolymer is available transparent and in multiple colors, which can be developed upon customers' needs.

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