High-Performance Thermoplastics Reduce Weight and Fuel Consumption, Increase Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness

TegraLite™ is a new global line of advanced thermoplastic lightweighting solutions designed to make flight more efficient and cost-effective for aircraft manufacturers and airlines. These technologies integrate the world’s broadest range of high performance polymer systems from Solvay Specialty Polymers and the complementary skills of other innovators within the industry, such as 3A Composites.  

Products include advanced thermoplastic foams, prepregs and sandwich structures. These materials provide lighter alternatives to traditional materials used in aircraft floor to ceiling applications, radomes, cargo compartments, engine covers and other systems. As the aircraft industry aims to reduce weight and fuel costs, these materials are increasingly replacing metal and heavier plastics. In addition to providing significant weight reduction, they offer enhanced durability, and reduced part making and maintenance costs.

These materials meet all FAA fire, smoke and toxicity requirements and are resistant to harsh cleaning agents and aircraft liquids, including Skydrol®.  

TegraLite™ Alliance Partner: 3A Composites

Solvay joins forces with 3A Composites, an industry leader in advanced thermoplastics which brings decades of experience in achieving greater efficiencies in the automotive and aeronautics industries, enhancing Solvay’s expertise to provide the most innovative solutions to our customers.

A division of Schweiter Technologies, 3A Composites produces and distributes an assortment of high-quality, lightweight core materials for aircraft, transportation, architecture and other applications worldwide. Leading brands include AIREX®, BALTEK® and BANOVA®.

Key features include significant weight savings, lower operational costs, excellent mechanical properties, high thermal insulation, easy processing and radar transparency.

Explore 3A Composites

TegraLite™ Lightweighting Materials

Foam & Sandwich Panels

Introducing TegraCore™ PPSU Structural Foam

Solvay and 3A Composites have joined forces to create TegraCore™ advanced lightweight foam core sandwich structures which offer a tailored, cost-effective substitute to traditional lightweighting materials on a worldwide scale.

TegraCore™ PPSU Structural Foam takes aviation sustainability beyond the barriers of traditional composites for rugged as well as light-weighting components. While the TegraCore™ is already orbiting the planet in various applications such as the self-efficient Solar impulse 2 aircraft and Airbus A350 XWB, its use in the new catering trolley from AeroCat demonstrates the foam’s versatility for a broad range of high volume aviation products to improve the operational efficiency of OEMs and airlines through lower weight, reduced labor costs, better function integration and superior maintenance performance.

Processing demonstration of TegraCore™ PPSU Structural Foam 

A proprietary foam manufacturing process industrialized by Solvay’s alliance partner, 3A Composites, ensures the required high strength-to-weight ratio at a typical density of 50 kg/m3, characterized by a closed cell morphology that takes advantage of the physical properties of the PPSU polymer. Radel® PPSU has a proven track record of more than 25 years in aerospace applications. TegraCore™ offers excellent thermoforming capabilities without excessive spring-back or shrinkage and displays both a low coefficient of thermal expansion and thermal conductivity. It also exhibits intrinsically very low moisture absorption and high resistance to aggressive aerospace liquids like jet fuel and Skydrol®.

Key Features:

  • Universally specifiable
  • Lightweight: 50 kg/m3
  • High strength-to-weight ratio
  • Isotropic mechanical properties
  • Dimensional stability
  • Excellent damage tolerance
  • FST performance (exceeds FAR 25.853)
  • Retains mechanical properties to 180 °C
  • Compatible with thermoplastic and thermoset skins as well as RTM resins
  • Resistant to Skydrol® and other aerospace fluids
  • Easily cut, welded, adhered and formed

 

Applications:

  • Cabin applications from floor to ceiling
  • Seat Shells, privacy panels and monuments
  • Sidewalls and dividers
  • Cargo compartments
  • Engine covers
  • Ducting
  • Radomes
  • Catering trolleys

Aerocat trolleys made of Radel® PPSU Resin and TegraCore™ Structural Foam

Airlines are constantly looking for new ways to reduce weight and save money on fuel consumption costs. Passenger service trolleys were still being made with aluminum until AeroCat B.V. came up with a lightweighting solution, building Aerocat GEN2 trolleys out of Solvay’s TegraCore™ structural foam. The new plastic trolleys meet all FAA fire, smoke, and toxicity requirements and resist aggressive cleaning agents. The lighter design saves on jet fuel, and PPSU’s insulating properties let catering companies use less dry ice to keep drinks cold. TNO, the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, estimates these factors could amount to a 310,000-ton CO2 reduction per year if 10% of the trolleys in service are replaced by the plastic trolleys.

Advanced Foam Solutions for Solar Impulse

“Weight reduction is one of the program’s permanent obsessions, forcing us to develop new solutions to get this plane flying,” says Claude Michel, Head of the Solar Impulse partnership at Solvay. The Solar Impulse cockpit requires materials which combine lightweighting properties with exceptional thermal insulation characteristics to protect the pilot from extremely low outside temperatures. TegraCore™ structural foams used for the cockpit floor are the ideal material to meet these needs due to its excellent resiliency with low density along with superb thermal insulation properties.

 

 

Films

Ajedium™ High-Performance Films

A full spectrum of high performance and developmental thermoplastics films for specialized industries. Made from a variety of engineering, aromatic and fluorine-based polymers, these films may be mono- or multi-layer structures to meet the most demanding specifications.

Benefits:

  • Access to thin film expertise for light-weighting solutions
  • A broad polymers portfolio to meet a wide range of end-use requirements
  • AjediumTM film-based systems are compliant with various FAA requirements for flammability and fire behavior

 

Technology:

  • Flat-die extrusion
  • Co-extrusion (3 layers, 2 resins)
  • 6 μm to 40 mil thicknesses
  • Precision slitting to 1.5 meters wide
  • Extrusion coating (in-line lamination)

 

Applications:

  • PVF replacement
  • High-temperature release films
  • Thermal acoustic insulation blankets
  • Decorative and protective sheets and laminates

 

Learn more about Ajedium™ Films

Tougheners

Virantage® High-Performance Tougheners for Advanced Composites

Virantage® High-Temperature Tougheners for Advanced Composites impart enhanced damage tolerance to thermoset composites and coatings like epoxy based systems that are typically used for structural aerospace or F1 applications.

Key Features:

  • Reduced dissolution times
  • Lower system viscosity
  • Enhanced fiber wet-out
  • Improved toughness vs. heritage formulations

 

Benefits:

  • Improved impact performance
  • Enhances out-of-autoclave processing
  • Produces finished components with higher Compression After Impact (CAI)

 

Technology:

  • Range of controlled particle size distribution
  • Hydroxyl (OH), amine (NH2) and non-functionalized formulations
  • Enhanced out-of-autoclave formulations
  • Better porosity control
  • Drop-in replacement for heritage tougheners

 

Applications:

  • Tougheners for out-of-autoclave formulations
  • Second-source for heritage composite formulations

 

Learn more about Virantage® PESU

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Specialty Polymers

Solvay's unrivaled portfolio of high performance plastics, polymers, fluids and elastomers.