CAMX 2020 exhibit preview: Hexcel
Appears in Print as: 'Innovations in resins, tapes, prepregs and AM'
Hexcel (Stamford, Conn., U.S.) is showcasing a combination of resins, thermoplastic unidirectional (UD) tapes, epoxy prepregs and additive manufacturing technology.
Hexcel says its latest HexFlow resins, HiTape dry UD tapes and HiMax carbon reinforcements have been developed to meet aerospace OEM cycle time and cost reduction targets associated with the production rate increases planned for future aircraft programs. HexFlow resins are specialty matrix systems for out-of-autoclave (OOA) processes such as vacuum infusion and resin transfer molding of aerospace primary structures. These formulations combined with HiTape UD tapes and HiMax non-crimp fabrics are said to deliver excellent dry and hot/wet mechanical properties, with adjustable processing time windows to fit all liquid composite molding (LCM) applications.
Developed specifically for semi-structural aircraft interior applications, Hexcel has launched its latest epoxy prepreg, HexPly M95. This new formulation is said to provide an enhanced mechanical performance compared to phenolic prepregs, including a faster cure time and superior surface finish. HexPly M95 is also reported to meet all FAR25.853 requirements for flammability, smoke, toxicity and heat release. HexPly M95 is designed for automated layup processes including automated fiber placement (AFP), automated tape laying (ATL) and rapid hot-in/hot-out press curing. With a 20-minute cure cycle at 140˚C, Hexcel’s new formulation is said to deliver an equivalent mechanical performance to autoclave-cured prepregs.
Hexcel is also featuring its high-performance unsized carbon fibers for thermoplastic matrices. The processing for the company’s HexTow unsized carbon fibers are said to enabling handling without sizing as well as optimal bonding with thermoplastics. Hexcel says its portfolio of unsized fibers provides opportunities for implementation of thermoplastics in aerospace designs and structural components, and HexTow unsized carbon fibers are already baselined and qualified on multiple applications with major OEMs.
Finally, Hexcel is showcasing its HexAM additive manufacturing process, which provides a weight savings solution for intricate parts in highly demanding aerospace, satellite and defense applications. Structures made from the company’s HexPEKK 3D-printed materials are said to offer significant weight, cost and time-to-market reductions, replacing traditional cast or machined metallic parts. HexPEKK EM is the latest formula of HexPEKK, designed to decrease the resistivity of the material while maintaining the advantages of high-performance 3D-printed polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) thermoplastic. Hexcel says HexPEKK EM is ideal for applications requiring lower resistivity options and electromagnetic energy absorptive properties.
Hexcel says it has developed its latest thermoplastic UD tape materials and processing innovations for aerospace, space and defense primary and secondary structures alongisde partner Arkema (King of Prussia, Pa., U.S.). Hexcel says the companies have developed a joint research laboratory at Hexcel Les Avenières (France) that is now fully operational and equipped with advanced shared equipment and pilot lines that are speeding up the material development and customization of UD tape suitable for oven consolidation, welding and full in situ processes.
Toolmakers and OEMs are embracing additive manufacturing for customized, rapid tools, masters and jigs.
Orbital Composites’ patented coaxial extrusion process is investigated at Airbus subsidiary CTC GmbH Stade and spins off advances in speed, scale, materials and multifunctionality as it aims for very large structures.
Shocker Composites and R&M International are developing a supply chain for recycled CF with zero knockdown vs. virgin fiber, lower cost and, eventually, lengths delivering structural properties close to continuous fiber.