Hexcel partners with Lavoisier Composites, Arkema

Hexcel has announced a partnership with Lavoisier Composites to upcycle composite by-products from the aerospace industry, and a joint R&D lab opening in partnership with Arkema.

Hexcel (Stamford, Conn., U.S.) recently announced two new collaborations: a partnership with Lavoisier Composites for upcycling composite by-products from the aerospace industry, and a new research and development lab opening in partnership with Arkema (King of Prussia, Penn., U.S.).

Hexcel has joined forces with Lavoisier Composites (Lyons, France), a startup company that developed a material called Carbonium sourced entirely from carbon fiber composite by-products generated by the French aerospace sector.

Hexcel supplies high-performance composite materials for aircraft such as the Airbus A350 XWB, which has a 53-percent composite structure, contributing to the reduction of the aircraft weight, fuel consumption and carbon footprint. According to Hexcel, eco-sourcing of industry by-products plays a key role in tackling environmental and economic challenges. 

In its first year of operation, Lavoisier Composites has already enjoyed commercial success, Hexcel says, including the launch of two watch models by Swiss luxury watchmaker Ulysse Nardin using this new material. From aircraft fuselages to watchmaking, the composites manufacturing cycle presents opportunities for reducing our impact on the environment.

Hexcel has also partnered with Arkema, announcing that the two companies will open a joint research and development laboratory in Les Avenières (Isère), France in April.

This follows the companies’ previous announcement in March 2018 that they were forming a strategic alliance to develop thermoplastic composite solutions for the aerospace sector, combining the expertise of Hexcel in carbon fiber and Arkema in polyetherketoneketone (PEKK).

The companies’ objective at this new lab is to develop carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic prepreg tapes to enable lightweight parts to be produced for future generations of aircraft. These solutions, Hexcel says, will provide lightweight and cost-effective technologies including faster production cycles for customers in the aerospace, space and defense sectors.

An initial industrial pilot line is set to be installed in the new lab in the next few weeks, Hexcel says. The companies expect to start supplying carbon fiber/thermoplastic UD tapes from this pilot line to customers for evaluation beginning in the third quarter of 2019.