The composites content in each new aircraft program has grown significantly since the introduction of prepregs in the 1970s. Composites are now essential materials in the construction of all aircraft and the commercial aerospace industry is the largest user of Hexcel’s advanced composites.
In new wide bodied aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 XWB composites account for over 50% of the airframe. Hexcel was proud to be awarded the contract by Airbus to supply HexPly® prepreg reinforced with HexTow® carbon fiber for all composite primary structures of the A350 XWB.
The Boeing 737 MAX engine nacelles have an acoustic inner barrel that is manufactured from Hexcel’s engineered core and benefits from Hexcel’s Acousti-Cap® technology in which a permeable cap material is individually embedded into each honeycomb cell to create an acoustic septum. This technology is a leading contributor to the reduction of the area of acceptable noise contour of the 737 MAX engine by 40% over the legacy 737 NG, without any weight penalty.
Hexcel’s composite materials bring great benefits to aircraft design. They save weight and reduce fuel consumption, increase payload, extend flight range, enhance toughness and durability, optimize design, reduce part count, decrease maintenance cost and maximize passenger comfort and safety. The improvement in fatigue performance with carbon fiber reinforced prepregs (CFRP) compared to aluminum is also a major benefit.
With a spirit of innovation that has grown stronger and stronger for over 60 years, Hexcel continues to push back the performance boundaries for aircraft designers with IM carbon fiber, toughened epoxy resins, out-of autoclave curing prepregs, noise reducing honeycombs and value added composite parts.