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26th April 2019, Tokyo

New prepreg shows promise for Toray

The prepreg’s mechanical performance is equivalent to that of a primary structural component using existing prepreg and moulded autoclave method. © Toray

The prepreg’s mechanical performance is equivalent to that of a primary structural component using existing prepreg and moulded autoclave method. © Toray

Toray Industries has developed a prepreg for the primary structural components of aircraft that enables the moulding of high-grade carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) with excellent mechanical characteristics – without using an autoclave.

The company will further develop this new technology to meet the demand for high-performance CFRP components with low processing costs in various applications including aircraft, vehicles and general industrial use.

In general, CFRP primary structural components used for the main wings and fuselage of an aircraft are manufactured using an autoclave process method by laminating prepreg sheets (carbon fibres impregnated in epoxy resin). While the autoclave method has the advantage of stable moulding for high performance, high quality CFRP components, does require high initial capital investment.

To replace the autoclave method, Toray last year developed a vacuum pressure moulding technology, in which CFRP is manufactured with atmospheric pressure under vacuum suction, and has now developed a prepreg that is suitable for this vacuum pressure moulding technology.

The prepreg, enabled by a newly-developed novel matrix resin, has mechanical performance – compression strength after impact and tensile strength – the equivalent to a primary structural component using existing prepreg and moulded autoclave method.

A test mould of a 2 metre component simulating part of an existing aircraft tail assembly has been moulded using the new prepreg and had a lower porosity content compared with existing prepreg of a level that can clear a strict quality control standards for aircraft components.

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