Bio-sourced composite for aircraft applications cures 15 to 20 times faster

  • Flax and bioresin act as structural adhesive system
  • Composite satisfies the stringent requirements of the aeronautical industry
  • JEC Innovation Awards winner, category: Sustainability

The aircraft and rail industries are under huge pressure to use sustainable materials. They are also looking for fast-curing options. The companies EcoTechnilin (UK) and TransFurans Chemicals (Belgium) have now developed a bio-sourced composite that cures 15 to 20 times faster than conventional materials. The so-called FibriRock will be used in the SmartCart lightweight galley cart, that will be launched during the second quarter of 2015.

The bio-sourced FibriRock composite

The bio-sourced FibriRock composite cures 15 to 20 times faster than conventional materials

Flax/basalt skins bonded onto regular Nomex core

The FibriRock composite is comprised of flax/basalt skins bonded onto a regular Nomex core by a sugar-based bioresin. Thanks to the use of this material, the Smartcart is the first sub-12-kg galley cart to be rated for a 50-kg load tested to the new 21J specification (which includes a 9-g pull test). The flax/basalt matrix is produced by EcoTechnilin, and the prepreg panels are processed and assembled by Applied Component Technology in Wales, UK. The sustainable, organic material (flax and bioresin) makes up over 55% of the composite. Over 30% is basalt, which is greener and more temperature resistant than glass.

Composite satisfies the stringent requirements of aeronautical industry

The composite was optimized to reduce the weight of these combustible organic materials (flax and bioresin) so that the total composite can meet the mechanical performance requirements while excelling in the stringent fire, smoke, toxicity and heat release tests required by the aeronautical industry. At 15 kW.min/m2 (2-minute total) and 18 kW/m2 (peak), the heat release figures for the 5.5-mm composite FibriRock panels are well within the target values (65 and 65).

The SmartCart combines low weight with industry-leading security technology and will enable airlines to save weight and costs while using a sustainable, bio-sourced technology. The FibriRock system yields a rigid, lightweight and fast-curing composite while using green, sustainable materials.

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