F/List has joined a research consortium aiming to develop aircraft interior composites made from 100% renewable raw materials. Further aims of the BioForS consortium include ensuring the composites are decorative and offer excellent properties.
The hope is to replace conventional fire-resistant lightweight components for aircraft interiors, which include sheets made from fossil raw materials.
“We aim to make aviation more sustainable,” said Patrick Domnanich, director of research and development at F/List. “In this project, we tackle the challenge of bringing green and renewable structural materials into the aircraft cabin.”
This approach entails great challenges as materials and components used in aviation must be able to withstand extreme loads while being as light as possible. So-called organo sheets have increasingly been used in the past. These are fibre composites that can be produced quickly and easily and have excellent mechanical properties, notes F/List. However, the company adds that these are still made from fossil raw materials, which opens up the potential for replacement by renewable resources.
Since the beginning of 2018, a large project team including partners from science and industry has been researching the production of bio-based organic sheets for the visible parts in aircraft interiors. The materials used are biodegradable and vegetable oil-based polymers in the form of films, which incorporate flame-retardant and natural flax fibres as a matrix.
Besides base material development, the project deals with designing the composite assemblies and setting up efficient manufacturing and moulding processes. Since these sheets are intended for elements in the aircraft interior that can be seen and touched, the feel and look must also be optimal. The sheets are therefore equipped with a specially developed bio-based and fire-retardant decorative layer including real wood veneer.
F/List is contributing to the project with its extensive expertise in aircraft engineering, certification and material development. The company’s in-house test facilities, which include a flammability laboratory, are working to ensure all innovations meet the highest specifications.
Funding is provided by Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft, Take Off, from 2018 to 2021. F/List’s project partners are Kompetenzzentrum Holz (consortium leadership), SIEDRU Druck, Montanuniversität Leoben (chairs for processing of composite materials, materials science and testing of plastics), Polymer Competence Center Leoben (PCCL) and Alba Tooling & Engineering.