Title: Investigation into Forming Aircraft Seat Components with Thermoplastic Sandwich Panels Utilizing Recycled Materials
Authors: Wade Bowles, Rich Postera, David Leach
Abstract: Driven by the growth in global regulations and increasing public pressure to reduce the ecological footprint, aircraft manufacturers are seeking new alternatives that utilize greener materials and increased efficiencies to minimize long term environmental impact. In addition, these benefits will need to be provided without increasing costs to the OEM. One area of potential interest is the reduction of overall weight and carbon footprint of the materials used in aircraft cabin interiors and equipment. The current narrow body aircraft (Boeing 737, Airbus A320) have a seat count that averages 150+. This paper is focused on the development of light weight seat components utilizing thermoplastic sandwich panels constructed from a combination of virgin and recycled materials. Utilization of a sandwich structure can result in a significant stiffness/ and strength/weight ratio increase relative to metallics or full consolidated composites allowing for a lighter weight component. The panel system developed utilizes poly(ether-imide) (PEI) woven carbon fiber face sheets and a PEI recycled carbon fiber non-woven core. The core can expand to a set gap and bond with the face sheets during the manufacturing process allowing for changes in thickness and areal weight. The resulting panel can be re-heated and formed into specific shapes with traditional thermoplastic equipment and processes. By combining recycled carbon fiber with a recyclable base material, the process goes a long way in reducing the carbon footprint of the components. The aim of this study is to investigate and understand the challenges of processing recycled carbon core sandwich panels with a conventional non-isothermal (stamp forming) process using a representative aircraft seat back as the demonstrator article.
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Conference: CAMX 2022
Publication Date: 2022/10/17
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