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1st June 2017, Burneside

TFP develops lightweight composite pipe for aircraft fuel systems

Technical Fibre Products (TFP), a leading nonwoven manufacturer, offering a broad choice of nonwovens for an array of challenging applications, in collaboration with Tods Aerospace, Element Materials Technology and ENL, has developed a lightweight composite pipe which it says can be used safely in aircraft fuel systems.

The innovation is the output from an 18-month project on Composite Electrostatic Transport Elements CompETE, which has been partly funded by the UK National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) and supported by Airbus UK.

TFP has developed a lightweight composites fuel pipe designed to be used in aircraft fuel systems. © Technical Fibre Products

The main objective of the project was to develop lightweight and damage resistant composite fuel pipe assemblies that can be used safely in composite aircraft fuel tanks.

Electrical properties

The resulting fuel pipe assemblies incorporate precisely controlled electrical properties, the company reports. This is said to ensure that the structure is electrically isolating to resist lightning strike propagation, whilst still sufficiently conductive to dissipate the static electricity resulting from fluid movement.

Another important property is damage resistance, the pipes have been subjected to various application tests including impact and fatigue cycling and have achieved the required technical specifications for damage tolerance.

The primary purpose of the new development is to enable a significant potential weight reduction in aircraft. The lightweight composite fuel pipes are designed to replace their heavier metallic equivalents, as well as enabling further weight and cost savings by a reduction in the palliative isolating/bonding hardware currently used. It is estimated that significant weight savings per aircraft could be achieved, providing operational cost savings via reductions in fuel-burn, the manufacturer explains.

Technical Fibre Products

Technical Fibre Products (TFP) is a leading advanced nonwoven manufacturer and has extensive experience in the development of novel materials to meet specific performance requirements in industries including aerospace, defence, energy and construction.

“The company’s dedicated technology team combines an in-depth understanding of the nonwoven forming process with the knowledge and experience to work with a range of fibres, particulates and binders,” the company reports. “The application of this expertise has enabled the development of a composite pipe with precisely controlled electrical properties.”

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