Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG, Heanor, U.K.)reports that Airbus (Toulouse, France) has qualified ACG's first out-of-autoclave (OOA) prepreg advanced composite material, MTM44-1, for structural applications. Its dual-cure (130°C to 180°C/266°F to 355°F) toughened epoxy matrix has been optimized for low-pressure vacuum bag processing to provide low internal void content. Resulting performance, says ACG, is comparable to that of standard autoclave-cured systems. In addition to reduced capital costs offered by the elimination of an autoclave, ACG reports that the material also offers the ability to manufacture larger and more integrated structures that might otherwise be constrained by an existing autoclave's dimensions. Airbus has qualified MTM44-1 prepreg in tape and fabric formats. 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.
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