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Aircraft Impact Protection Material

TitanWeave™ is a patented technology that we have developed that relies on the efficient, controlled introduction of a Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) into a fibre reinforced plastic. It provides cost-effective, lightweight and penetration resistant composites.

Challenge

With OEMs and airlines constantly striving to decrease emissions and lower costs, utilising technologies that reduce mass and manufacturing cost is increasingly important.

Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites offer the required high strength, low mass material solution, and are starting to be used widely across the aerospace industry. However, optimising the use of FRPs materials remains a challenge.

Aircraft are operating in environments where foreign object impact (FOI) threats are considerable; for example, it’s estimated that one in every 1,000 UK flights is subjected to a bird strike. The relatively poor impact performance of traditional fibre reinforced plastics necessitates the design of far heavier FRP components to ensure post-impact structural integrity.

Solution

To address this challenge, we have developed TitanWeave™, an innovative patented process that combines fibre reinforced plastics with shapememory alloy (SMA), enabling the optimised use of composites and potentially reducing the mass of current composite components by up to 40%.

Our TitanWeave™ technology combines SMA wire, which can withstand large amounts of elastic and plastic deformation at high stresses, with traditional FRPs. The SMA element provides the enhanced ability to absorb energy before structural penetration, presenting a significant step change in FRP impact performance. The selection, geometry and architecture of the SMAs are controlled to ensure that the high specifications of the FRP are retained.

Additionally, TitanWeave™ is a multifunctional material; currently, composite structures that require protection against environmental effects or lightning strike typically use a parasitic material added to the surface of the structure, incurring additional cost and mass. Incorporating TitanWeave™ technology can eliminate the need for parasitic layers, offering further cost and mass reduction, and simplifying traditional manufacturing techniques.

Key Benefits

  • Three-fold increase in penetration resistance
  • Facilitates greater use of composite materials
  • Multifunctional material for impact energy absorption and additional functionality, e.g. lightning strike protection
  • Enables optimum use of composites, reducing mass and cost

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