The project was part funded by the UK National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) and supported by Airbus Operations. Technical Fibre Products (TFP), Element Materials Technology and ENL were contributing partners.
The adoption of composite fuel pipe assemblies has the potential for weight savings over metallic equivalents. However further weight and cost reductions are possible by optimising the composite materials and manufacturing process, and also by introducing novel means of achieving the tightly controlled electrical properties, Tods explains.
The materials and techniques developed for manufacturing the pipe assemblies were chosen to enable automation of the process to allow efficient mass production. Tods reports that a static and fatigue test programme has demonstrated that thin wall composite pipes with conductive injection moulded end-fittings can easily withstand internal and external pressure load cases and are highly resistant to impact damage and fatigue cycles.
“Tods Aerospace strives to be a major contributor to advancing composite technology and we are very proud of this accomplishment as it speaks to the ability and innovation of our hardworking team,” says Pete Eckersall, Vice President and Managing Director for Unitech Aerospace company Tods.