AUG 2018


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NEWS 31 MS-21 Infused Wing One of the biggest uncertainties facing the use of OOA infusion to fabricate large primary composite aerostructures revolves around questions of porosity. As is well known, the aerospace industry expects less than 2% porosity in its composite structures, which is typically easily achieved with autoclave cure. Can infusion, limited as it is by atmospheric pressure, meet that porosity threshold? Gaydansky says the infusion process devel- oped by AeroComposit typically provides less than 1% porosity. Going forward AeroComposit has completed prototype manufacturing and is in early stages of produc- tion of the MS-21 wings. Gaydansky says, "We have already accom- plished the manufacturing of 10 shipsets of the outer wing. e full manufacturing cycle of composite parts, starting from the layup of the preforms and until they are delivered for assembly, takes, as of now, approximately two months." As serial production ramps up, he says, the composite part cycle will take about one month. e assembly process, at the moment, requires four months; in serial production, it will be less than three months. us, the total time to build a wing, in production, is expected to be about four months. Gaydansky says the infused outer wings have completed static testing, which "demonstrated that the strength characteristics of the composite wing are not lower than the design values." Fatigue testing will be done later in 2018. As an early adopter, AeroComposit, and by extension, Irkut, have done a significant amount of the troubleshooting required to apply new materials and processes to aircraft manufacturing, and they clearly have developed a viable system for wing and wingbox fabrication. e remaining challenge appears to be one of rate. How might the aerocomposites industry apply Aero- Composit's lessons to other aircraft? Frank Nickisch, director of strategic projects, composite materials aerospace at Solvay, believes that just having applied infusion successfully is a major milestone. However, he contends, "e big challenge is cost and rate at the end of the day. I think a few things will need to come together to make infusion a winning solution: Mechanical perfor- mance, design integration, automation of manufacturing process. is will need to be really efficient. We need to get labor out to be really cost-competitive." Jeff Sloan is editor-in-chief of CompositesWorld, and has been engaged in plastics- and composites-industry journalism for 23 years. Read this article online | AOC has the formula for your success. You can count on AOC for unparalleled innovation — backed by the best quality and service in our industry. @AOCresins Contact AOC at +01 866.319.8827 or visit us at to learn more. Quality Innovation Service

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