Tods Aerospace finalist for materials innovation award

UK-based Tods Aerospace has collaborated with Technical Fibre Products (TFP) to develop a nonwoven veil for static dissipation applications.

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Tods Aerospace (Yeovil, UK), a Unitech Aerospace company and specialist in advanced composite materials technologies, reported on Oct. 17 that it has been selected as a finalist for the 2017 Composites UK Innovation in Materials Award. Tods Aerospace’s submission is titled, “Development Of Static Dissipating Glass Fibre Composites; Applications For Fuel System Components In Aerospace.”

The innovation was developed  to overcome the limitations of current state-of-the-art products available in the market and is tailored for composite applications in commercial and military aircraft fuel systems. The resulting technology, a nonwoven veil material, comes from an industry collaboration between Tods Aerospace and Technical Fibre Products (TFP, Kendal, Cumbria, UK).

“Electrostatic dissipation is a requirement for nearly all glass-based composite materials used in fuel systems for modern composite-wing aircraft,” says Sean Cooper, materials and manufacturing development manager for Tods Aerospace. “Low-level electrical conductivities are required to prevent a buildup of static charge in the structure and prevent the propagation of electrical effects through the fuel system during an external lightning strike. This process of electrostatic management is an absolute necessity to ensure the safe operation of the aircraft.”

The nonwoven is said to be compatible with aerospace-qualified composite prepreg and provides high levels of sheet resistance (~0.1 to 5 MΩ/square) on a normally insulating glass fiber-based composite structure. The material is porous and thus can be fully wetted by a prepreg resin system; it is said to be flexible enough that it can be incorporated either into the composite surface or placed as an interply throughout the thickness of a complex composite layup.

Tods Aerospace is currently undergoing further developments to design and manufacture specific composite fuel system components and assemblies this nonwoven.

The Innovation Award winners will be announced during the Advanced Engineering Show in Birmingham, UK, Nov. 1. ​​​​​​