WEB EXCLUSIVE: New LNP Thermocomp EC006PXQ and ED008PXQ specialty compounds were recently tested in a proof-of-concept study validating their use to replace aluminum in aircraft food-tray arms.

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WEB EXCLUSIVE: New LNP Thermocomp EC006PXQ and ED008PXQ specialty compounds were recently tested in a proof-of-concept study validating their use to replace aluminum in aircraft food-tray arms. The two materials are Ultem polyetherimide (PEI) filled with 30% and 40% chopped carbon fiber, respectively. Supplied by SABIC Innovative Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass., they reportedly exceed application requirements for mechanical strength and can reduce weight by 44% to 46% and cost by 19% to 77% vs. aluminum (depending on aluminum grade and whether machined or die-cast). The materials meet aircraft flammability requirements. Optimized mold and part design using mold flow analysis and finite-element mechanical analysis solved problems of premature failure under load experienced with other thermoplastic composites. The new plastic tray arms can support up to 213 lb.