Resin extruded honeycomb panels

SABIC Innovative Plastics has used its Ultem resins to extrude honeycomb panels for use on aircraft. The material was extruded into hollow tubes and cut to length before being joined using a thermo-bonding process for adhesion.

For the laminate, low-viscosity Ultem resin was incorporated into a glass or carbon fibre matrix. After the sandwich structure was assembled, it was thermoformed into three-dimensional shapes.

John Darlington, SABIC Innovative Plastics' industry manager for transportation, said: "Ultem resin is a remarkably versatile material that targets today's issues, including lightweight for fuel economy, and elimination of hazardous additives for environmental protection."

SABIC teamed up with Tubus Bauer and Ten Cate Advanced Composites, who wanted to use a thermoplastic that could replace aluminium and thermoset resins in the core, thus enabling the entire panel to be thermoformed.

The companies aim to use thermoplastic honeycomb-core technology for interior panels such as flooring, sidewalls, partition walls and luggage bins. Honeycomb cores have traditionally been made from aramid fibre-based honeycomb, as well as aluminium.

Justin Cunningham

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