Spirit AeroSystems says that it has developed a new way to produce carbon fiber composite materials that could lower costs and increase production volumes of future aircraft components. It has developed the Advanced Structures Technology and Revolutionary Architectures (ASTRA) panel, a full-scale demonstration fuselage panel using the new technology.

In one example, Spirit’s integrated sheet stringer, an internal fuselage support component, can be formed in place, eliminating many current processes, according to Spirit AeroSystems senior director of research and technology Eric Hein. ‘This includes a separate stringer forming line and elimination of multiple tools,’ he said.

The seamless sheet stringer and skin can provide smooth, continuous surfaces for attaching frames and other hardware, while weight savings can be achieved by more efficient application of composite fiber tape placement, according to Hein. ‘Non-vented bladder systems used in the aerostructures manufacturing process improve quality, and low-cost production tooling reduces overall new program costs,’ he said.

Spirit says that it is also using a new composite material, Toray T1100/3960, that can improve structural performance, and QISO braided fabric made by A&P Technology, which has improved formability.

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