- C-Ply non-crimp fabric (NCF) instead of aluminium
- Unique shape with no wings
- Winner of JEC Composites Magazine Special Prize
Designed by VX Aerospace, the VX-1 KittyHawk stands out from other aircrafts featuring a blended-wing carbon structure. The use of Chomarat’s C-Ply material, a thin-ply non-crimp fabric (NCF) led to greater usable internal volume and higher payload capability.
CNG tanks fit inside the aircraft
Abandoning the traditional quasi-isotropic lay-ups or “black aluminium”, C-ply enables laminate designers to vary the fiber angles between plies, evenly spread fibers and, therefore, to increase toughness and get lighter weight products. The structure features low density, high damage tolerance and fewer parts. Existing-technology CNG tanks fit inside the aircraft with no aerodynamic compromise.
At production level, the specific shape made from composites allows parts consolidation resulting in time savings by eliminating assembly steps. Indeed, the VX-1 KittyHawk has a very low parts count. The basic airframe consists of 4 ribs, an upper skin and a lower skin. Furthermore, the aircraft does not need a wing spar anymore.
Material born from collaborative effort
C-Ply is the result of a cooperation between Chomarat and Stanford University’s Dr. Steven Tsai, who developed the concept of bi-angle thin-ply NCF.