Synthetic diamond composite tooling material provides step change in aerospace

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Reinforced Plastics reports on a new synthetic diamond material designed for aerospace tooling. According to the manufacturer Element Six, Aero-Dianamics can provide three times increased productivity in carbon fiber reinforced plastics processing in the next generation 3D composite tooling solutions.

Element Six, the manufacturer of synthetic diamond supermaterials and member of the De Beers Group of Companies, has launched a new Polycrystalline Diamond (PCD) product portfolio Aero-Dianamics™ for the aerospace industry. The new product range is claimed to provide a three times improvement in productivity and reduced cost per finished part, in the processing of composite materials including carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP), compared to today's tungsten carbide tooling systems.

CFRP in aerospace CFRP composites now make up around 50% of airframe materials. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, for example, uses CFRP materials for the fuselage, wings, fin, stabilizer, control surfaces and nacelles. The Airbus 350XWB uses 53% of composite material. Future growth is expected at around 14% per annum, with significant additional growth opportunities in automotive.

This growth in CFRP as airframe materials is now driving the economics of aircraft operations. Benefits include:

  • Weight reduction for improved emissions and up to 25% greater fuel efficiency.
  • Introduction of new technologies, such as the next generation turbines.
  • High durability for reduced maintenance costs.
  • High strength allowing higher cabin pressure for greater passenger comfort.
  • The opportunity to increase payloads.

This article appeared in the Nov/Dec issue of Reinforced Plastics.