The aerospace materials of the future | Safran

The aerospace
Lighter, stronger and increasingly efficient, composite materials have only just begun to revolutionize the aerospace sector. Employed by Safran for more than thirty years, they are subject to a continuous innovation drive, supported by Safran Composites. Here is a closer look at a technology which offers the Group a decisive competitive advantage.

Reducing the weight of aircraft is a constant challenge for the aerospace industry. The ultimate goal is to cut fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions with a view to providing more economical and “greener” air transport. But this is not the only constraint facing manufacturers. “The materials used must be lightweight, of course, but they also need to be rigid and strong enough to withstand intense mechanical stress. They also need to withstand impact from hailstones and bird strikes in the case of engine parts,” explains Jean-Pierre Poitevin, Vice President of Safran Composites, Safran Tech’s R&T center devoted to Polymer Matrix Composites (PMCs). “For all of these reasons, PMCs provide the best possible compromise compared to metallic materials for temperatures below 150°C.”

Partner suppliers

For this innovation drive, Safran is relying on its suppliers to develop materials that meet very specialized specifications. Agreements have therefore been signed with its main partners: Hexcel, Solvay, 3M and, more recently, Toray. “By engendering trust over the long term, these agreements forge the conditions for success,” says Jean-Pierre Poitevin. “It provides a means of boosting progress in this booming sector.”

 

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