January 25, 2023 – Victrex announced today approval of a new unidirectional tape (UDT) – VICTREX AE™ 250-AS4 – by the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance (NCAMP) for use in aerospace programs. The combination of the industry standard HexTow® carbon fiber supplied by Hexcel and the new, innovative thermoplastic resin system from Victrex can be incorporated into the manufacturing of composite materials that may reduce energy use, decrease aircraft weight, and improve aircraft durability.
NCAMP works closely with the FAA and industry partners to qualify material systems and populate publicly available databases. These NCAMP databases accelerate production and reduce the costs related to a typical qualification of composite material systems by aircraft manufacturers. By having an NCAMP-qualified system, suppliers can bring materials to market faster on a larger scale and help their end-users reach FAA certification sooner than the typical certification process.
The adoption of thermoplastic composites in the aerospace industry is on the rise, due to the benefits from materials that lower aircraft weight and reduced associated fuel burn, while providing cost savings to the airline and lowering carbon emissions for the environment.
Victrex engaged in a process spanning more than two years to successfully qualify VICTREX AE™ 250-AS4 UDT to the NCAMP allowables database. Hexcel has a proven record of qualifying composite materials solutions through NCAMP, and this newly available allowables database enables aircraft designers to easily adopt an exceptional new composite system solution.
“Having an allowables database is critical for entry onto certified aircraft,” said Claire Steggall-Murphy, Strategic Technology Manager, Victrex. “It is the basis for structural substantiation and a minimum requirement to supply to customers who want to design and build parts with our materials.”
“Hexcel’s unsized carbon fiber is the industry-preferred carbon fiber for use in high performance thermoplastic composites,” said Lyndon Smith, Vice President, Fibers, Hexcel. “We are pleased to have been selected and congratulate Victrex on receiving this approval.”
Victrex is the inventor and manufacturer of low melt PolyArylEtherKetone (LMPAEK™) thermoplastic polymer. VICTREX AE™ 250-AS4 UDT high-performance thermoplastic carbon fiber composite prepreg tape has a 40°C lower melting temperature compared to standard VICTREX™ PEEK. The unique mechanical, physical, and chemical resistant properties of the PolyAryleEtherKetone (PAEK) polymer family make it an outstanding combination of performance and processability for aerospace applications. The lower melting temperatures of VICTREX AE™ 250-AS4 polymer and the flow characteristics also enhance Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) processability.
VICTREX AE™ 250-AS4 Key Characteristics
- Lower melt viscosity than PEEK at melt, allowing for great processability
- Excellent toughness and fatigue performance
- FST (fire, smoke, toxicity) performance meets recognised industry standards
- Low moisture absorption
- Ability to operate at or above glass transition temperature
- Ideal for use in overmoulded parts
- Exceptional resistance to chemicals and solvents
- Surface polymer flow to facilitate layup welding
- Excellent slitting characteristics
- Consistent thickness and width tolerance metrics
- Long lengths without splices (>1000M)
- Room temperature storage, no freezer required
Victrex is an innovative world leader in high-performance PEEK (Poly Ether Ether Ketone) and PAEK (Poly Aryl Ether Ketone) polymer solutions focusing on the strategic markets of automotive, aerospace, energy and industrial, electronics and medical. Every day, millions of people use products and applications containing our materials – from smartphones, aeroplanes and cars to energy operations and medical devices. With over 40 years‘ experience, we are developing world leading solutions with PEEK and PAEK-based polymers and selected semi-finished and finished parts which enable environmental and societal benefit for our customers and our markets and drive value for our shareholders. Find out more at Victrex.com
Hexcel Corporation is a global leader in advanced lightweight composites technology. We propel the future of flight, energy generation, transportation, and recreation through excellence in providing innovative high-performance material solutions that are lighter, stronger and tougher, helping to create a better world for us all. Our broad and unrivaled product range includes carbon fiber, specialty reinforcements, prepregs and other fiber-reinforced matrix materials, honeycomb, resins, engineered core and composite structures for use in commercial aerospace, space and defense, and industrial applications.