Lightweight composite pipe for aircraft fuel systems

Technical Fibre Products (TFP), in collaboration with Tods Aerospace, Element Materials Technology and ENL Ltd, has developed a lightweight composite pipe which can be used safely in aircraft fuel systems.

This follows an 18 month project on Composite Electrostatic Transport Elements ‘CompETE’ which has been part funded by the UK National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) and supported by Airbus UK. The main objective of the project was to develop lightweight and damage resistant composite fuel pipe assemblies that can be used safely in composite aircraft fuel tanks.

The resulting fuel pipe assemblies incorporate electrical properties to ensure that the structure is electrically isolating to resist lightning strike propagation, whilst still sufficiently conductive to dissipate the static electricity resulting from fluid movement. The pipes have been subjected to various application tests including impact and fatigue cycling and have achieved the required technical specifications for damage tolerance, according to TFP.

 The lightweight composite fuel pipes are designed to replace their heavier metallic equivalents, as well as enabling further weight and cost savings by a reduction in the palliative isolating/bonding hardware currently used. TFP estimates that significant weight savings per aircraft could be achieved.

This story is reprinted from material from Technical Fibre Products, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.