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3D Printing Polymer for Aviation Use

Airbus A-321 production

Jan 13th 2019

 For those new to aviation the technologies used in aircraft production can seem daunting.

 Advanced materials are used almost everywhere, and even the smallest parts can require complex collaborations to make.

 For this reason I have decided to start a blog that looks at the most recent breakthroughs in aircraft materials. 

 This will show what the hottest trends are, and how new materials could help develop new products. 

 As one of the greatest concerns in aircraft manufacturing is the cost of producing the airframe, the development of new cost effective methods to produce PAEK polymers is major news.

 VICTREX is a British company that has developed a lower temperature process for making PAEK polymers with reinforcing carbon fibres.

 Though it might not sound significant, a reduction in the processing temperature, by just 20 to 40 Degrees, does substantially reduce the costs. It also permits faster cool down, which permits the end products to be made faster. This reduces labor costs.

 Where every penny counts, this is an important announcement.

 The VICTREX PAEK polymer is also designed for use in laser sintering and FFF applications 3D printing. It should be noted that FFF printing is the same process as FDM printing.

 PAEK polymers are routinely used in aircraft, because in a fire their toxicity is lower than many alternatives. They are also structurally robust, which permits the interior to be light-weight.


Image: Airbus A-321 final assembly Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic. Source DearEdward, Wikipedia Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.