Boeing, Ube Industries to jointly develop aerospace composites

The two-year effort will focus on development of composites for use around aircraft engines.

The Boeing Co. (Seattle, Wash.) has entered into an agreement with Ube Industries Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) to develop new materials technology for aerospace applications. The initial focus of the collaboration, announced in January, will be on maturing high-temperature polymer matrix composites for Boeing's commercial airplanes, intended to reduce the weight and cost of airframe structures in close proximity to the engines.

The agreement establishes an initial two-year collaboration period, which can be extended based on mutual interests. Boeing and Ube also will seek to identify additional areas of mutual interest for joint development under the agreement.

"This new agreement is a further example of our strategy to leverage top research capabilities wherever they reside in the world," said Frank Doerner, vice president of AeroStructures, Manufacturing, and Support Technologies in Boeing Phantom Works, the company's advanced R&D unit.

"Japanese industry is globally recognized for their R&D capabilities, particularly in materials technology," Doerner said. "Our hope is that this is just the start of a mutually beneficial long-term research partnership."

"While Ube Industries has long provided certain materials for aerospace applications, this new agreement is an important first step in leveraging Ube's world-class expertise in chemistry to open the door to broader supply of aerospace products," said Koji Kihira, president of Ube's Specialty Chemicals and Products Company.

"We have been working to develop this market for a while now, and this agreement is an important milestone in that effort. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Boeing."