Challenge 15

Challenge purpose: Sustainable Green composites for aircraft cabin interior

About the challenge

Lots of elements like window panels, overhead bins, partitions, lavatories, seat shells to equip an aircraft cabin are made of composite material. Common material grades used for these applications are phenolic thermoset resin with glass reinforcement. Honeycomb is used as core material, made from nomex® paper pre-impregnated with phenolic resin. These historic composite materials have main advantages to associate good specific mechanical and FSTHR (Fire, Smoke, Toxicity and Heat Release) properties with cost-competitive.

However, in the framework of the REACH regulation, phenolic resin and its chemical constituents have been clearly identified by the ECHA (European CHEMICALS AGENCY) as a danger for aquatic life and human health. Moreover, glass and nomex® reinforcements are synthetic fibres. The increase in awareness about environmental pollution and the depletion of petroleum-based resources has encouraged researchers to utilize renewable material based on natural-based resources. The challenge is to identify new greener composites materials for cabin interior application. The objective is to propose new composite materials with the lowest environmental impact, both core, matrix and fibres for surface reinforcement.

A combination of green solutions may be proposed: use natural fibres, with bio-sourced polymer (for example organic chemistry based on bioethanol or oil) combined with the recycling process, or biodegradability properties but mechanical and FSTHR properties shall be compliant with cabin environment requirements (see the following paragraph).

Main section of application:

  • Aeronautics

Main cross-cutting topics:

  • Material supply & development

Scope of the challenge

Cabin linings

Composite window panels

Cabin furnishings

Lavatory and partitions

Cabin furnishings

Overhead bins and seat shells

Cargo linings

Cargo linings and ceiling panels

Typical current composite structure

Fire worthiness Requirements : FAR 25.853 Compartment interiors

Mechanical performance

Challenge objectives

  1. Objective: identify alternative green materials: fibre and/or matrix and or Core. Lower environmental footprint demonstration will be based on Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) focused on Material elaboration, part production and Recyclability.

  2. Objective: Mechanical performances similar to current product to guarantee weight performance.

  3. Objective: Fire Smoke Toxicity Heat Release compliance with Cabin interior requirements

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