Advanced Composites Group (ACG, Heanor, U.K.), part of the Composites Division of Umeco plc, reports that Airbus Industrie (Toulouse, France) has qualified ACG’s first out-of-autoclave OOA prepreg advanced composite material, MTM44-1, for structural applications.
MTM44-1 is a dual-cure (130°C to 180°C/266°F to 355°F), high-performance, toughened epoxy matrix that has been optimized for low-pressure vacuum bag processing to provide low internal void content. Resulting composite performance, says ACG, is comparable to those of more standard autoclave-cured systems.
In addition to reduced capital costs offered by the elimination of an autoclave, ACG also reports that the material offers the ability to manufacture larger and more integrated structures that might otherwise be constrained by the dimensions and investment required for traditional in-autoclave processing.
Airbus has qualified MTM®44-1 in two prepreg formats, tape and fabric). Airbus and ACG also have signed a framework contract that reportedly will provide commercial and technical stability to Airbus subcontractors adopting this new technology over the coming years.
ACG’s three other OOA systems, MTM45-1, MTM46 and MVR444, are currently in use or under qualification for a variety of civil and military applications.