Foam cores offer aircraft component manufacturers low-cost, rigid lightweighting options


Aircraft manufacture requires optimal design at low cost and makes corresponding demands on the composites industry. Sandwich components reportedly satisfy the requirement of low weight combined with the highest possible rigidity in, for example, spoilers, flaps and paneling.

Evonik Industries (Essen, Germany) is introducing its latest product to achieve such aims: a structural foam core for sandwich components called Rohacell Hero; at the upcoming Composites Europe 2014 show in Düsseldorf this 7-9 October. The light core material has been specially developed to meet the stringent requirements of aircraft manufacturers on damage tolerance and damage visibility after impact events such as bird strike or hail. Composite components using Rohacell Hero are also significantly less expensive to produce than counterparts with a honeycomb core structure according to Evonik.

High-rigidity components commonly use honeycombs as core material. Due to the open hexagonal cells and low inherent rigidity, however, fabrication is complex and expensive according to Evonik. Foam cores, on the other hand, require only a simple one-shot manufacturing process and save on core filler or adhesive film; this reduces processing time, costs, and even weight.
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