Carbon fibre thermoplastic for aircraft interiors

The concept tray table arms.
The concept tray table arms.

Vaupell, a contract manufacturer of injection-moulded components and assemblies, is working with SABIC Innovative Plastics to validate the new material in aircraft seating components

Vaupell’s tray table arms are concept parts designed to showcase the 50% weight savings and up to 40% improved strength of the carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastic resin over die cast aluminium.

“Working closely with SABIC Innovative Plastics, we immediately saw the potential of carbon fibre filled Ultem resin to replace aluminium in interior aircraft applications,” reports Mike Hamm, vice president, Sales, Vaupell. “It’s an outstanding product that delivers top performance and compliance with ever-tightening global standards for critical interior applications."

Carbon fibre reinforced Ultem resin complies with FAA flammability FAR 25.85, smoke density and heat release requirements for OSU 65/65.

In addition to tray table arms, potential applications for the carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastic grades include armrests, footrests and galley items such as coffee maker chassis. Vaupell will conduct further load capability testing and fatigue testing later this year.

SABIC Innovative Plastics has developed a family of carbon reinforced Ultem resins with varying fibre. In addition to reduced weight over aluminum, these grades avoid the need for machining and other secondary processes. They also enable part consolidation.

As well as Injection moulding the compounds are also suitable for extrusion into panels for galley storage and similar applications. Components can be powder coated, painted or plated.