SABIC Features Space-Age Material Technologies

SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business is exhibiting high-performance thermoplastic solutions that are helping aviation customers reduce weight and costs, enhance safety and sustainability, and optimize the flying experience.

Pittsfield, MA, September 24, 2011 --( The company’s extensive portfolio of resin, sheet, foam and composite technologies are playing a key role in conserving fuel and lowering emissions; meeting increasingly stringent FST regulations; and enhancing the comfort and aesthetics of the cabin environment. SABIC’s leadership in the development of ever-higher-performance plastics, together with its unmatched expertise and global resources, are enabling aircraft OEMs to meet current and future challenges.

Putting Aircraft Interiors on a Weight-loss Regimen

On average, an aircraft will burn about .06 lbs of fuel per hour for each kilogram (2.2 lbs) carried on board. Given that the total commercial fleet flies approximately 57 million hours per year, cutting one kilogram per flight would save roughly 1,700 tons of fuel and 5,400 tons of CO2 per year.

SABIC’s high-performance, lightweight materials for aircraft interiors can make a significant contribution to fuel economy and emissions reduction. For example, using Lexan F6000 PC sheet to replace traditional PVC/acrylic products on seating frames, an airline could reduce weight by approximately 23 percent, which is 176 lbs based on a plane with 190 seats.

SABIC’s new LNP Thermocomp* EC006PXQ and EC008PXQ specialty compounds are respectively 30 and 40 percent carbon-filled materials that are based on Ultem PEI resin technology. They provide exceptional stiffness and flow, which allows for the production of high-performance, thin-wall molded parts to replace airline grade die-cast aluminum in structural components, resulting in major weight savings and an increase in strength of up to 40 percent. The company recently completed a proof-of-concept study further validating the performance of these two specialty compounds in aircraft food tray arms and found that the materials – together with an optimized design – reduced part weight by up to 46 percent and cut costs by up to 77 percent vs. aluminum components.

Another high-tech SABIC product – Lexan XHR (extremely low heat release) 6000 sheet –provides superior weight-out of up to 12 percent vs. traditional PVC/PMMA products for better fuel economy. Geven S.p.A., a leading aircraft seating and interior solution provider, has chosen Lexan XHR sheet for their new aircraft seating for Carribean Airlines’ “Armonia” interiors, designed by Giugiaro. The challenging goal of limiting the seat weight to a maximum of 9 kg (19.8 lbs) pressed Geven to select the high-performance SABIC material.

Delivering Top-flight Compliance, Aesthetics and Durability

In addition to superior performance vs. competitive materials, SABIC’s high-end thermoplastic products provide a host of other benefits for global aircraft designers ranging from long, useful life to regulatory compliance. Using these materials can help OEMs provide maximum comfort and appeal for passengers while ensuring a high level of safety and controlling costs.

Transparent Lexan F2000A sheet offers excellent FST performance and impact strength, and complies with FAR 25.853 and ABD0031 requirements at 2 mm and 3 mm, respectively. It is an ideal candidate for windows, light diffusers and signs where clarity is requested. Lexan F2000A sheet provides environmentally responsible flame retardance according to DIN/VDE 0472 part 815.

Extem* UP thermoplastic polyimide (TPI) resins are flame-retardant, extreme high-heat materials that meet UL 746B requirements at a relative thermal index (RTI) of 240 C, indicating retention of certain mechanical and electrical properties at this temperature over a 10-year period. Extem UP resins also offer up to five times greater flex strength and up to five times higher stiffness than unfilled PEEK at 200 C. They provide a CTE of up to 30 percent lower than unfilled PEEK.

Ultem CAB sheets, co-developed and manufactured with Crane & Co., provide a superior alternative to thermoset aramid fiber-reinforced honeycomb composites. The Ultem CAB sheets can be quickly thermoformed, offer a broad range of high-performance properties, are recyclable and offer great potential to be refurbished with a newly developed decorative film layer to extend useful life while still meeting FAA requirements.

Building upon Ultem resin’s proven capabilities for aircraft interiors, carbon-fiber-filled Ultem resin complies with FAR 25.853 and the smoke density and heat release requirements of the OSU standard 65/65.

SABIC Innovative Plastics
Banu Kukner