High temperature Affordable Polymer Composites for AM Aerospace Applications (HTAP-AM)
High performance mouldable plastics like PEEK/PEK and others in the polyaryletherketone family (PAEK), and their engineered composites are materials of the future, and of particular interest to airframe makers as a metal replacement – they are 40 -70% lighter than steel, titanium or aluminium. PAEK composites are also highly corrosion resistant, heat tolerant to 250oC+, don’t burn, and can compete mechanically. Additive Manufacture (AM) of PAEK polymers and composites is now possible. If this production route could be matured and perfected, AM PAEK would be exploited far more extensively in future aircraft. Similarly to AM metals, which is now an established and indispensable tool in airframe design and manufacture, the usage of PAEKs would grow. This ATI-supported project aims to solve the well identified technical barriers hindering AM-PAEKs exploitation, and thereby make the process reliable and cost competitive for the aerospace supply chain – this initiative brings together the entire materials and processing supply chain, including polymer makers/suppliers through to parts manufacturers and post-processors, as well as end-users.