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Airbus, AVIC in conductive composites pact

Airbus and AVIC will cooperate on research into multi-functional composite materials for aerospace applications.

The Airbus (Beijing) Engineering Centre (ABEC) and AVIC Composites Corporation will partner to develop what it describes as "electrically functionalization technologies" that can "improve the toughness, damage resistance and electrical conductivity of composite materials".

Airbus says composite materials today have disadvantages that range from low electrical conductivity and poor impact damage resistance. To that end, the project aims to create composite materials that "have excellent impact resistance and good in-plane and out-plane electrical conductivity" which will be able to withstand lightning strikes.

The airframer adds that the first phase of the project will involve evaluation studies. ABEC is a 70-30 joint venture between Airbus and AVIC.

"We are at the early stage of the research, and hopefully we can test the feasibility of the new composite material next year. Going from labs to the industry requires a long time, and the application needs to pass strict verification, which may need about 5-10 years," says Michel Tran Van, general manager of ABEC in local media China Daily.

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