Helicopters Magazine

Ticona receives JEC 2013 Innovation Award

February 25, 2013  By Carey Fredericks

March 5, 2013, Las Vegas, Nv. - Ticona, the engineering polymers business of Celanese Corporation, will again receive a prestigious JEC Innovation Award for the first thermoplastic composite tailplane developed and put into production for a helicopter.

It uses a composite prepreg made with Fortron polyphenylene sulfide (PPS). Together with Fokker Aerostructures, AgustaWestland and TenCate Aerospace Composites, Ticona will receive the Aeronautics category award at the opening ceremony of the JEC Europe – Composites Show on Tuesday, March 12, in Paris.

The award goes to the new tailplane of the AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter primarily due to its energy-saving lightness: With a 15 percent weight reduction compared with predecessor models made from conventional composites, this innovative composite makes a considerable contribution to a fuel-saving construction and thus to greater profitability and lower emissions. As the first of its kind, the 3-meter long tailplane has a single-piece torsion box made from thermoplastic composite. This core element comprises four preforms co-consolidated under pressure. Both the leading and trailing edges of the tailplane are made from reinforced thermoplastic composite laminates attached to thin, pressed ribs and individually exchangeable. All the components are made from preformed TenCate Cetex® prepregs based on Fortron PPS. The curved tailplane tips are made from conventional carbon-epoxy preforms.

The substantial weight saving is made possible by the high resilience of the thermoplastic material as well as the strength and stiffness of the torsion box designed by Fokker Aerostructures in multi-spar construction. The economical manufacture of this complex component results from the co-consolidation of simple preforms. Excellent durability and impact strength of the thermoplastic leading and trailing edges are among the other advantages of the tailplane construction awarded the prize by the jury of experts.

This is the third time Ticona has been recognized with a JEC Innovation Award for composite applications using Fortron PPS:
    •    2011 JEC Innovation Award in the Thermoplastics category — Cutting Dynamics Inc. (CDi), along with Ticona, TenCate Advanced Composites and A&P Technology (A&P), developed a modular composite seat back assembly used in passenger seat assemblies on lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft.
    •    2010 JEC Innovation Award in the Aeronautics category — Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Fokker Aerostructures, KVE, TenCate and Ticona developed the first welded thermoplastic composite aircraft primary structure on the Gulfstream G650.
JEC is the largest composites exhibition and technical conference in the world. Each year, a jury of experts chooses the best composite innovations, based on their technical interest, market potential, partnership, financial impact and originality.



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