Manufacturers looking to produce composite components in large volumes at the lowest cost, can learn about a joint study by Evonik Industries, Composite Technology Center and Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, on the use of rigid foam material in automated production. Study results confirmed the advantages of using rigid Rohacell foam, the closed-cell polymethacrylimide foam (PMI) from Evonik, and automatization when building complex structures like aircraft flaps, spoilers, gear doors and others produced in high volumes.
Innovative part design in a current application is on display in a partial composite helicopter main rotor blade produced by Van Horn Aviation (USA) for the 206B JetRanger helicopter. The blade was fabricated with a Rohacell 71HERO foam core and Toray carbon fiber, then autoclave co-cured. Cutaway sections on the blade enable visitors to view interior construction. Also presented will be a core section of an aircraft wing demonstrator featuring novel puzzle-joint connection design, from Pronat Aerospace (Israel).
Almost 50 years ago, Rohacell foam was introduced to the market as the first commercially available PMI foam and has been used as a core in composite sandwich structures. With proven performance backed by years of testing and certification, its use in composites grew.
Dr. Kai-Martin Krüger, head of Evonik’s Performance Foams Product Line, says:
“We first began manufacturing Rohacell in Darmstadt (Germany), then in 2008 we added our Mobile (USA) production facility, and since 2015 we have operated a facility in Shanghai (China). And this year, Evonik is significantly expanding its Rohacell facility in Mobile and is also investing in a new, modern production facility in Darmstadt which is scheduled to come on line by the end of 2021. Supporting market growth and providing customers with reliable local supply is our priority.”
More than lightweight
Composite sandwich parts combine lightweight cores with thin carbon fiber composite cover layers, thus offering maximum mechanical performance at minimum weight. Rohacell is also characterized by its strength and stiffness, high temperature resistance up to 220 °C (428 °F) and excellent compressive creep strength at elevated temperatures. The rigid foam is used in aircraft, automobiles, ships, sports goods, electronics and medical technology. Today’s customers can access worldwide application technology support provided by a team of engineers, composite specialists and experts in sandwich design structures.
Companies: Evonik Industries