Graphene Flagship partners have produced a leading edge for the Airbus A350 horizontal tail plane using Graphene-enhanced composites.
The Graphene Flagship partners are Aernnova, Grupo Antolin-Ingenieria, and Airbus. The leading edge they have produced uses Graphene-enhanced composites to make the tail plane lighter and more fuel-efficient while maintaining its safety.
The properties of the leading edge
The leading edge is the first part of the tail plane to contact air. This means it is subjected to extreme temperatures caused by compressive heating of the air ahead of the wing. For this reason, the leading edge needs to possess excellent thermal and mechanical properties.
Using Graphene-enhanced composites
Increasing the resin properties with Graphene will make it possible for the leading edge to be thinner and lighter, while still maintaining safety. This will provide a significant saving in fuel, costs, and emissions over the lifetime of an aircraft.
Ana Reguero of Aernnova, added: “Aernnova supplied the resin to Grupo Antolin-Ingenieria who added graphene directly to the resin and applied milling forces. This creates small graphene particles – an important step to get good graphene infiltration within the resin, avoiding unwanted impurities, such as solvents, which can alter the viscosity of the resin. It is important to maintain the correct viscosity of the resin to ensure the optimal outcome during the resin transfer moulding of the leading edge.”
The Graphene Flagship
Professor Andrea C. Ferrari, the science and technology officer of the Graphene Flagship commented: “This is a great example of the collaborations fostered by the Graphene Flagship. Three of our industrial partners came together to address a key problem and found that Graphene offers a solution beyond the state of the art. The development and system integration of Graphene-based technologies follows the plans of our innovation and technology, where composite technologies play a prominent role.”