Passenger aircrafts have been manufactured mainly from metallic materials, but from the 1990s, the use of FRP has been increasing in order to meet the demands such as the improvement of fuel efficiency by weight reduction and the demand for more direct flights by extending the cruising range. Some models now use CFRP for more than 50% of the aircraft’s weight. An example where NCF is currently used is the Rear Pressure Bulkhead of the Airbus A380. It is manufactured by a method called Resin Film Infusion (RFI) molding using NCF. The Airbus A320neo is also used in the fan case of the aircraft turbofan engine PW1100G (Pratt & Whitney). In other cases, the C Series from Bombardier is the basis.
CFRP parts have been applied to automobiles for a long time, and in recent years, to reduce weight and increase rigidity, practical application to various parts is being considered. A major topic of application of NCF in automobiles was its application to BMW’s electric vehicle i3, as one of the materials for CFRP monocoque. Although it has been used in vehicles, it is one of the first case of a mass-produced vehicle.
FRP has been used for leisure boats and fishing boats, and NCF has also been used as the material. In recent years, it has been applied to large ships due to the development of molding technology and material processing technology. An example of this is the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s minesweeper, which uses NCF for the hull structure. In Europe and America, GFRP minesweepers have been built since the 1970s. In Japan, the Enoshima was the first GFRP minesweeper, which entered service in 2012.
In recent years, a CFRP propeller for commercial ships has been developed since 2014. Compared to conventional metal products, it is possible to increase the diameter by making it lighter in weight. Various effects are obtained, such as the ability to obtain force and the high damping characteristics to reduce vibration.
In the infrastructure field, it has been used as a material for repairing/reinforcing drainage pipes and molding FRP pipes inside old pipes to restore their function as structures. Even in Japan, drainage pipe repair, reinforcement, and rehabilitation technologies constructed in Europe are imported, and NCF is used in this field.
Since rigidity and strength are required in the longitudinal direction of the rotor blade, NCF that does not have crimp even with high basis weight easily develops strength. Taking advantage of these characteristics, a high-basis weight 0° oriented sheet (UD sheet) is applied. In addition, it is necessary to reinforce diagonally so that the rotor blade does not twist when rotating at high speed, and in this case, NCF with reinforcing fibers obliquely oriented is used.
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