PEEK-based tubing replaces titanium in commercial aircraft

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  • Metal-replacement in high-voltage cable conduit lines
  • 45% weight savings compared with titanium equivalent tubing
  • Faster manufacturing process

To improve the overall fuel efficiency of their new commercial aircraft platform, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), selected Victrex Pipes rather than metal tubing for use in high-voltage cable conduits. The thermoplastic tubing system offers weight savings of up to 45% and is being supplied through the partnership of BeiJing FeiHang Jida Aviation Technology Co., Ltd. (Beijing Feihang) and Victrex.

45% weight savings compared with titanium equivalent tubing

Victrex pipes are typically used in the replacement of aluminium, titanium and stainless steel tubing systems. For this specific application, the Victrex PEEK-based tubing was tested and validated by COMAC, and achieved weight savings of up to 45% when compared with titanium equivalent tubing. The durable tubing system also serves as a shock absorber in the protection of the cables.

PEEK based tubing

Victrex high-voltage cable conduit using Victrex Pipes for COMAC Beijing Feihang (source: Victrex)

Faster manufacturing process

Victrex collaborated with the engineering teams to design a system that is able to take advantage of a much quicker manufacturing process, one that does not require machining or anti-corrosion treatments as metals would. By improving the development cycle time, the companies were able to reduce the total system costs. Providing further assurance in the quality of its products, Victrex has recently obtained the AS9100C/ISO9001:2008 aerospace certification, which requires that a quality management system is in place to consistently provide products that meet customer and applicable legal and regulatory requirements.

Design freedom for demanding aerospace systems

Victrex pipes are able to be bent, formed, and flared using heat and conventional tube bending equipment to meet strict interior design requirements and space limitations. Victrex also works with several customers on jointing technologies that allow the design of continuous systems.

PEEK tubing provides high dielectric strength

The thermoplastic tubing offers very good fire/smoke/toxicity (FST) performance, is very ductile and corrosion-resistant, and provides high dielectric strength, which is essential in high-voltage environments. In addition, the smooth inner bore of the pipes allows for an ease of flow, a key benefit in the case of fluid transportation.

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