Composites for aviation that are made from 100% renewable raw materials, and which not only have excellent properties, but are also decorative: that’s the goal of the BioForS project consortium. The aim 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. In this project, we tackle the challenge of bringing green and renewable structural materials into the aircraft cabin,” explains Patrick Domnanich, Director Research & Development, F/LIST.
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 fiber composites that can be produced quickly and easily and have excellent mechanical properties. Currently they 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 fibers as a matrix. Besides base material development, the project deals with designing the composite assemblies and setting up efficient manufacturing and molding 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 contributes 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, ensure that all innovations meet the highest specifications.