Demonstrator of a Thermoplastic Composite Aeronautical Structure: Closure of the HAICoPAS Collaborative Project

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  • Demonstrator of a Thermoplastic Composite Aeronautical Structure: Closure of the HAICoPAS Collaborative Project
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Hexcel and Arkema bring to fruition the first aeronautical structure made of thermoplastic composites

A strategic partnership between Hexcel and Arkema has resulted in the first high-performance thermoplastic composite aeronautical structure to be exhibited at JEC 2024. The demonstrator was designed and manufactured using Hexply® thermoplastic tapes. These aeronautical structural materials are developed from Arkema's PEKK Kepstan® resin and Hexcel's Hextow® AS7 and IM7 carbon fibers.

This demonstrator was produced as part of the HAICOPAS

The HAICoPAS project aims to optimize the design and manufacturing process for unidirectional composite tapes based on high-performance thermoplastic resins and continuous carbon fibers. It also aims to develop a more productive strip placement technology and a new system for assembling final parts by continuous and dynamic welding (ISW) with in-line quality control. The ultimate aim is to produce composite parts that can replace metallic materials (steel, aluminum, aitane) to lighten aeronautical structures, at a competitive cost and high production rate.
The work carried out by the project partners has made it possible to overcome the technological hurdles identified at the start of the project, notably through :
  • Development, implementation and characterization of carbon/thermoplastic tapes (C/PEKK).
  • Development of an automatic deposition process for consolidation outside the autoclave.
  • Development of an assembly process using ISW welding technology.

The definition of the elementary parts that will make up the assembled parts of the HAICoPAS demonstrator (design and specifications) was carried out in close collaboration with an industrial advisory committee comprising Airbus, Safran, Daher, Hutchinson and ATC. The final version of the HAICoPAS aeronautical demonstrator, made from composite tape and assembled using ISW technology, is on display in the Mobility section of the JEC World Innovation Planets exhibition area.



This innovative demonstrator was produced as part of the "HAICoPAS" collaborative project (Highly Automatized Integrated Composites for Performing Adaptable Structures). The HAICoPAS project is a collaborative project led by Hexcel, Arkema and their industrial partners (Ingecal, Coriolis Composites, Pinette Emidecau Industries (PEI) and Institut de Soudure), and a consortium of university laboratories led by CNRS, comprising PIMM (CNRS - Arts et Métiers ParisTech - le Cnam, LTEN (CNRS - Université de Nantes). This Projet R&D Structurant Pour la Compétitivité (PSPC) was supported by Bpifrance within the framework of the Programme d'investissements d'avenir and accredited by the Polymeris competitiveness cluster.

About Hexcel Corporation

Hexcel Corporation is one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-performance composite materials. Hexcel develops, manufactures and markets high-performance lightweight structural materials (carbon fibers, reinforcements, pre-impregnated and other fiber-reinforced matrix systems, honeycombs, adhesives, engineered core products and composite structures) used in the commercial aeronautics, aerospace and defense industries, as well as in various industrial applications.


About Arkema

With its unique expertise in materials science, Arkema has a portfolio of world-class technologies to meet the accelerating demand for new, sustainable materials. With the ambition of becoming a major player in Specialty Materials by 2024, Arkema is today organized around three complementary, resilient and highly innovative segments dedicated to them and representing 92% of the Group's sales in 2023 - Adhesives, Advanced Materials and C oating Solutions - and a competitive and well pos itioned Intermediates segment. Arkema offers cutting-edge technological solutions to meet the challenges of new energies, access to water, recycling, urbanization and mobility, and is committed to ongoing dialogue with all its stakeholders. The Group generated sales of around 9.5 billion euros in 2023 and is present in almost 55 countries with 21,100 employees.




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