Paris Air Show 2013: TAPAS partners and Airbus promote use of thermoplastic composites in aircraft

A fuselage panel for Airbus, which is made of thermoplastic composite from TenCate Advanced Composites and produced by Airbus, Fokker Aerostructures and other TAPAS partners, was also unveiled at the show.

The LOI aims to extend the existing research agreement of the TAPAS consortium and focuses on the continuing development of thermoplastic composites for wing and tail applications, for support structures for engines, and for fuselages.

TAPAS 2 will be the successor of TAPAS 1, which was initiated in 2009 with the aim of expanding the development of thermoplastic composites for Airbus aircraft design and bringing these materials to a higher technology readiness level.

Thermoplastic composite fuselage?

The companies and institutes forming the TAPAS consortium work closely with Airbus in the field of design and material, production and assembly technologies, supported by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs among others.

Under the leadership of Airbus, the partners recently produced a demonstration model of a fuselage panel for passenger aircraft. The process involved press forming, welding and co-consolidating the thermoplastic composite into a double-curved fuselage panel, including welded omega stringers and butt-jointed T-stringers.

According to TenCate, it is the first time that such a large fuselage panel has been made of thermoplastic composite.

Thanks to its properties – such as high stiffness, fire safety and excellent processability .– thermoplastic composite is a prime contender for selection as the material for the entire fuselage of future aircraft, reports TenCate.