Solvay PEEK resins qualified by COMAC

Five PEEK grades have earned a place on COMAC's C919 aircraft. Solvay announced the qualification at the recent Aircraft Interiors Expo in Seattle.

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Five of Solvay Specialty Polymers’ (Alpharetta, Ga., USA) trademarked KetaSpire polyetheretherketone (PEEK) grades have earned qualification at the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), a leading Chinese aircraft manufacturer, for use on its next-generation aircraft. These five materials are the first KetaSpire PEEK grades to be qualified at Shanghai-based COMAC, opening up a broad range of new commercial opportunities for Solvay in the high-growth Chinese market. Solvay made the announcement at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIE) Americas exhibition, held October 14-16 in Seattle, Washington.

The demand for commercial aircraft is reportedly growing at a torrid pace in China and manufacturers continue to make increasing use of high-performance thermoplastics, according to Armin Klesing, business development manager for Aerospace and Composites, at Solvay Specialty Polymers. “We’re excited about earning qualification at COMAC and delivering the lightweight material options that optimize design, improve performance, and reduce cost,” said Klesing. “As an industry-leading supplier of ultra-high performance polymers, we look forward to working with COMAC and their supply chain to collaboratively develop new solutions for the most demanding of applications.”

The five materials which have been added to COMAC’s qualified product list (QPL) are KetaSpire KT-880 NT neat resin, KetaSpire  KT-820 NT neat resin, KetaSpire KT-880 GF30 (30 percent glass fiber filled), KetaSpire KT-880 CF30 (30 percent carbon fiber filled), and KetaSpire KT-820 GF30 (30 percent glass fiber filled). KT-820 is a low melt flow resin while KT-880 is a high flow resin.

The materials will be used in the new COMAC C919, a family of 158- to 174-seat narrow-body aircraft. The C919 will be the largest commercial airliner designed and built in China. The KetaSpire PEEK grades are also expected to be used in the COMAC ARJ21 Xiangfeng, a twin-engine regional aircraft.

The qualification further solidifies Solvay’s commitment to the global aerospace industry where it occupies a strong position as a leading material supplier of a broad range of strong, lightweight, high-performance products used to improve fuel economy, eliminate corrosion, and reduce overall cost. Solvay expects its collaboration with COMAC to lead to new material qualifications in the future, according to Klesing. Solvay’s Torlon polyamide-imide (PAI) is also expected to be evaluated for use in future COMAC aircraft.

These injection-moldable materials are inherently flame retardant, exhibiting excellent fire, smoke, and toxicity (FST) performance and withstand the most aggressive aerospace fluids. They are targeted for a range of aerospace applications including electrical and mechanical attachments, covering films for thermal acoustic insulation blankets, electrical connectors, and a variety of aerospace hardware that is typically produced in metal or standard engineering plastics such as nylon.