Technologists of the Moscow State University have created a material that can replace aluminum and titanium in airplanes

Employees of the Chemical Faculty of Moscow State University have created a unique polymer matrix on the basis of new ftalonitrilnyh monomers for polymeric composite materials. The developed materials have a higher specific strength than metals, thereby allow radically reduce the weight of parts aircraft and spacecraft, operating at high temperatures. The results are published in scientific editions Journal of Applied Polymer Science, and European Polymer Journal.

A group of employees of the Department of Chemical Technology, Moscow State University named M. V. Lomonosov by a leading researcher Alexey Valerievich Kepmana engaged in structural polymeric composite materials (PCM). Of them are made different designs, machine parts, construction elements, perceiving the power load. For the aerospace industry, where increased demands on materials required PCM with increased performance. PCM consists of a polymeric binder matrix and a reinforcing element (filler), between which there is a clear boundary. In the example of carbon fiber reinforced plastics, as the reinforcing filler may be carbon cloth as well as a binder – polyester, epoxy resins, bismaleimides, polyimides, and many other polymers.

The modern aircraft the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is 50% of the PCM and the Eurofighter fighter – 70%. Creating a high temperature PCM will replace the existing metallic parts of the engine (for example, low-pressure compressor blades) or supersonic aircraft skin on parts of the PCM.

Chemists have proposed a new approach to the molecular design  bis-ftalonitrilnyh monomers that comprise the polymeric matrix, to give substances of which it is easier as compared with the conventional counterpart, receive heat resistant parts of complex shape with a minimum number of connecting elements.

“Now the temperature range PCM is not more than 150 ° C for the most common materials and up to 250 ° C – for thermostable. We have developed a PCM suitable for use at temperatures up to 450 ° C, having at the same time the simplicity of processing, comparable with the most common in applying for this purpose epoxy resins “, – told the participants of the project Boris Bulgakov and Alexander Babkin.

To date, the cost of a kilogram of titanium or aluminum alloy is significantly less than PCM, – 8-10 times. But, according to Boris Bulgakov, manufacture and service of large intricate parts of PCM many times cheaper. The effect is achieved by significantly reducing the complexity of manufacturing parts and highly integrated construction of carbon fiber.

“For example, the wing of the PCM conventionally consists of 10 elements, and metal – 100. That is, the installation of metal wing is more expensive. In addition, the carbon-fiber strength is higher than of aluminum, 6-8 times, and the specific weight – less than 1.5 times, “- says Boris Bulgakov.

PCM is widely used for the production of premium cars, Formula 1 cars, aircraft and spacecraft. Reducing aircraft weight leads to lower fuel consumption and an increase in payload, i.e. the long-term costs for the production of parts of PCM offset by savings on fuel and the number of passengers and cargo. Moreover, PCM cheaper to maintain, because it does not corrode.

Work on the new templates for PCM was carried out in the framework of the Federal Target Program “Research and development on priority directions of scientific-technological complex of Russia for 2014-2020”. Head of the department of chemical engineering and new materials, Professor V. V. Avdeev tasked with the organization of pilot production ftalonitrilnyh binders. Experimental batches of the material synthesized in the laboratory of Moscow State University, tested at the Central Institute of Aviation Motors (CIAM), named P. I. Baranova,  in the Kazan National Research Technical University named A. N.  Tupolev and other organizations.



New composite and polymer materials for fifth generation fighter. 

Reportage about the integration in the aviation and space industry Russia new materials (in Russian).

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