Case story

Hybrid thermoplastic tail rudder technology demonstrator

Nijverdal, The Netherlands

Manufactured and designed by Aerosud, this technology demonstrator displays a hybrid material solution for the creation of a lightweight, high strength tail rudder.

Utilizing TenCate Cetex® TC1100 C/PPS reinforced thermoplastic laminates (RTLs) and MC1100 bulk moulded compounds (BMCs) the part is also made up of 3D printed materials and additive laser manufacture of titanium hinges. Joining technologies for composite to composite and composite to metal interfaces include induction welding and ultrasonic spot welding, which are complemented by riveting and bolting.

The rudder showed a high degree of correlation between analysis and static testing with the design load at 304 Kg, an overall factor of 2.6 and a breaking load of 760 Kg. The lay-up of the TenCate Cetex® RTLs (orientation, laminate thickness) was optimized by using advanced composites forming simulation software from AniForm.

The AniForm software predicts the formability of the fabric, which includes wrinkling indications, fiber paths, and new ply thicknesses. The effect of lay-ups and blank shapes, as well as blank holders and tensioners can be investigated with ease. The actual forming results showed high correlation with the simulated results, which indeed shows that such simulation tools enable first-time-right process designs.

TenCate Cetex® TC1100 is suited to aerostructure applications due to it’s outstanding material properties, including:

  • High impact performance
  • Excellent chemical and solvent resistance
  • Inherently flame resistant with low smoke emission
  • Qualified at Airbus and Boeing for multiple structural applications

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