Hexcel and Arkema Open Joint R&D Lab to Develop Carbon-Fiber PEKK Products for Aircraft

Hexcel and Arkema aim to develop carbon fiber reinforced PEKK UD prepreg tapes for lightweight aircraft parts.

A joint R&D development laboratory by Hexcel, Stamford, Conn., and Arkema (U.S. office in Philadelphia) is being opened in Les Avenières (Isère), France. This is in step with the companies’ announcement in March 2018, that they were forming a strategic alliance to develop thermoplastic composite solutions for the aerospace sector, combining the expertise of Hexcel in carbon fiber and Arkema in PEKK.

The key objective of the new lab is to develop carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (PEKK) unidirectional (UD) prepreg tapes to enable lightweight parts to be produced for future generations of aircraft. These solutions will provide lightweight and cost-effective technologies including faster production cycles for customers in the aerospace and the space and defense sectors. Thanks to the companies’ close collaboration, an initial industrial pilot line will be installed in the new lab in the coming weeks. The companies expect to start supplying carbon/thermoplastic UD tapes from this pilot line to customers for evaluation beginning in third quarter 2019.