Solvay, Leonardo launch joint research lab for thermoplastic composites
On Feb. 2, Solvay (Alpharetta, Ga., U.S.) and Leonardo (Rome, Italy) announced the launch of a joint research lab dedicated to the development of novel thermoplastic composite materials and production processes, targeted at enabling a step-change in composite aerostructures manufacture and reducing environmental impacts.
The Solvay Leonardo Joint Lab will focus on thermoplastic engineered materials and, in particular, welding and automatic lamination (in-situ consolidation) of complex and large aerostructures, with the goals of maximizing product properties, increasing part production efficiency, and extending produce lifecycle. The emphasis on thermoplastic composites was chosen for thermoplastics’ potential for lightweighting more fuel-efficient aircraft and for enabling more sustainable, out-of-autoclave production lines.
Leonardo and Solvay believe this agreement will be the foundation for further platform collaboration on short and mid-term applications in aerospace, and more in future.
Nicolas Cudre-Mauroux, Solvay chief technology and innovation officer, says, “This collaboration is in line with the G.R.O.W. strategy of Solvay to strengthen our leadership position as supplier of innovative composite materials for aerospace and other markets. We believe that the
partnership with Leonardo will boost our ability to develop breakthrough thermoplastic composite solutions and substantially increase their adoption in aerospace, contributing to reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.”
Roberto Cingolani, Leonardo chief technology and innovation officer, adds, “This collaboration with Solvay is a significant step in research on advanced materials, which are part of the R&D programs to be developed by the Leonardo Labs. The research area, central to Leonardo, is a
key factor of competitiveness, and it will make it possible to improve the performance and safety of our products, to expand its potential, with a direct return on the environmental impact and consumption of resources, boosting a circular and efficient production system.”
The Solvay Leonardo Joint Lab will be based at the Leonardo Lab in Grottaglie, Italy and at Solvay’s MSAC - Material Science Application Center in Brussels, Belgium. In addition, the joint laboratory will have access to both companies’ internal infrastructures and collaborations with institutions, research centers and universities, in Italy and abroad, with a view to open innovation.
Approaching rollout and first flight, the 787 relies on innovations in composite materials and processes to hit its targets
Oven-cured, vacuum-bagged prepregs show promise in production primary structures.
For composite applications, these hollow microstructures displace a lot of volume at low weight and add an abundance of processing and product enhancements.