Weight reductions up to 50% could be achieved by using foam rather than solid plastic parts for aircraft interior installations, in the view of UK materials specialist Zotefoams.

Speaking at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg on Wednesday, managing director David Stirling said the London-based supplier has for 18 months now been processing aviation-grade materials with a well-established industrial technique of injecting solid polycarbonate with carbon dioxide or nitrogen gas to make foam. The technique should be a viable way to make a wide range of components – such as seat parts, cabin linings and other cover materials.

Gas injection, he says, does not necessarily lead to an increase in material thickness and does not compromise requirements such as low flammability: “You are using the same raw material, just less of it.”

Weight reduction is the technology’s central advantage but, says Stirling, “in certain cases” foam can be more cost-effective, too.

“We have proven the technology for hundreds of millions parts [in other sectors],” he asserts. “Now, it is about dialling it in correctly for a new industry.”

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Source: Flight Daily News