Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG, Heanor, U.K.), a member of the Composites Division of Umeco plc, announced on Oct. 10 that it has demonstrated the capability of its MTM 44-1 out-of-autoclave (OOA) toughened, structural prepreg resin system on the first subscale wing box demonstrator produced for the collaborative research program ALCAS (Advanced Low-Cost Aircraft Structures).
ACG is a major partner in the Business Jet Platform of this Airbus- and Dassault Aviation-led, €101 million EU-funded program aimed at validating the designs and technologies for lower cost aircraft structures.
ACG’s main focus in the program is to design and manufacture the lower cover of a structural wing box demonstrator. This cover would then be used by four other partners (Alenia, Dassault Aviation, SAAB and Stork Fokker AESP) to complete the structure using different materials, designs and manufacturing options. The four structures would subsequently be tested to validate and compare the embodied technologies.
The cover, composed primarily of MTM44-1/IMS UD prepreg, features T-shaped stiffeners cocured to the underlying skin, which varies in thickness from 5 to 17 mm (0.19 to 0.67 inch). The structure was successfully cured in a one-shot, oven-vacuum bag cycle. Detailed stringer run out features were substantiated by coupon and subelement level testing.
ACG’s cover was subsequently assembled with the rest of Fokker’s structure and the complete structural wing box demonstrator was sent to VZLU (Výzkumný a zkušební letecký ústav a.s.) in Prague, Czech Republic, where static loading, fatigue and impact tests were performed to assess ultimate failure load. The demonstrator failed at 10% over the specified design ultimate load, thereby proving the effectiveness of the materials, designs and technologies involved.
The cover panels destined for the remaining three structural wing box demonstrators have already been manufactured at Advanced Composites Engineering (ACE), ACG’s component manufacturing facility, using the same prepregs and OOA cure process.
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