High temperature, affordable polymer composites for AM aerospace applications


High performance mouldable plastics like PEEK/PEK and others in the polyaryletherketone family (PAEK), and their engineered composites are materials of the future and of particular interested to airframe makers as a metal replacement, being 40 -70% lighter than steel, titanium or aluminum. PAEK composites are also highly corrosion resistant, heat tolerant to 250oC+, don’t burn, and can compete mechanically. Additive Manufacture (AM) of PAEK polymers and composites is now possible, where if this production route could be matured and perfected, AM PAEK would be exploited far more extensively in future aircraft. Similarly to metals AM, which is now an established and indispensable tool in airframe design and manufacture, the usage of PAEKs would grow. This aim is to solve the well identified technical barriers hindering AM-PAEKs exploitation, and thereby make the process, reliable, cost competitive and a common-place fabrication route, available throughout the aerostructures supply chain. This initiative brings together the entire materials & processing supply chain, including polymer makers/suppliers through to parts manufacturers and post-processors as well as end-users.


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