The access door panel is made using TenCate Cetex TC1100 (C/PPS) woven thermoplastic composite material.
The access door panel is made using TenCate Cetex TC1100 (C/PPS) woven thermoplastic composite material.

The ThermoPlastic Composites Research Center (TPRC) and the Fokker business unit of GKN and TenCate Advanced Composites have won the JEC 2016 Innovation award for Aeronautics with a door panel, made using recycled thermoplastic composites.

The access door panel is made using TenCate Cetex TC1100 (C/PPS) woven thermoplastic composite material, reclaimed during the production of the main rudder and then chopped and compression molded. It is then incorporated into the overall rudder structure, forming a closed-loop recycling process. This novel use of reclaimed materials improves the use of secondary processes for thermoplastic composites that also include welding, overmoulding and spin-welding inserts.

Designed by Fokker, the access door panel demonstrates a number of interesting design features including molded stiffening ribs, thickness variations and in-molded holes with bosses. The reclaimed and chopped C/PPS semi-preg allows for an increased design freedom, resulting in a lightweight component with a large degree of function integration. 

‘We are delighted to support this project and applaud the outcome and recognition as it demonstrates the end-of-life possibilities alongside optimising ‘buy to fly’ recycling options for thermoplastic composite materials,’ said Nick Tiffin, European director of sales & marketing at TenCate.

The award was presented during the JEC Americas awards ceremony on Wednesday May 4th 2016 in Atlanta, GA, United States. 

This story is reprinted from material from TenCate, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.