In the aerospace industry, products are often subjected to harsh operating and environmental conditions (e.g., extreme temperatures, strong chemicals, and high/low pressures). As a result, they typically must meet strict specifications and standards regarding their design, construction, installation, etc. These requirements and restrictions are developed and implemented to ensure the quality, reliability, and/or safety of products, so users can trust them to operate and perform as expected in demanding applications. If a product is not fully compliant, there is an increased risk of failure.
High-quality products need high-quality materials. As a global leader in the research, development, and manufacturing of high-performance textiles, Tex Tech is the ideal source for aerospace materials. Armed with over 100 years of experience, we have what it takes to develop solutions that meet even the most highly specialized needs. Our advanced products are found in a wide range of aerospace applications, including various components within aircraft and spacecraft.
Aerospace Industry Challenges
Aerospace textiles are engineered for use in aerospace applications, meaning their characteristics are carefully selected to meet the demands of the overall industry and specific applications. Some of the challenges faced when creating materials for the aerospace industry include:
Many organizations have developed and published regulations and standards that are relevant to the design and construction of aerospace materials. Examples include ASTM International, the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). While these requirements and restrictions can be extensive and complex, they are vital to ensuring the safety of aerospace personnel and passengers.
Whether a material is designed for private, commercial, or military aircraft and spacecraft, it must be safe for use (i.e., not pose a risk to the health or well-being of passengers and personnel). That’s why aerospace materials undergo rigorous safety and quality tests to ensure they fully meet any relevant specifications and standards.
Aerospace materials are commonly exposed to harsh conditions, such as high/low temperatures and pressures. As such, they must be durable enough to withstand these conditions without suffering damage or degradation. Additionally, in the event of an emergency, certain materials must be able to help mitigate the problem. For example, aircraft seating materials should have reliable fire blocking properties, so they can help control the spread of fire and toxic fire-borne compounds.
In recent years, a main focus in the aerospace industry has been increasing fuel efficiency, which is why aircraft and spacecraft manufacturers continuously look for ways to decrease weight. Materials that offer high strength-to-weight ratios are an excellent solution.
Types of Aerospace Fabrics
There are many types of aerospace textiles available, each of which has distinct characteristics that make it suitable for different applications.
Non-woven materials are made by chemically, mechanically, or thermally bonding the individual fibers or filaments into a sheet or web. They exhibit many characteristics that make them well-suited for use in aerospace applications, including electrical and thermal resistivity, fire retardancy, impact resistance, and liquid repellency. Typical aerospace applications include acoustic insulation, carpet underlayment, fire barrier, moisture absorber, and seat fire blocking.
Woven materials are made by weaving the fabric with a variety of yarns into various weave structures to achieve different performance and operating characteristics. A common aerospace application is seat fire blocking.
Coated & Laminated Materials
Coating and laminating processes can enhance the physical and mechanical characteristics of materials to make them better suited for their intended applications. For example, materials used for life vests, life rafts, and evacuation slides are coated and laminated to ensure they keep in air and keep out water.
Current & Legacy TPS Products
At Tex Tech, we offer materials for thermal protection systems (TPS). TPS are designed to be applied to the outside of an orbiter to help it maintain the proper temperatures during takeoff and reentry and can be designed to meet specific vehicle requirements for conductivity, absorptivity and emissivity.
Our current products include coated high temperature felts, silica felts, rayon fabrics for carbon cloth phenolic applications (e.g., rocket nozzles), and 3D woven/felt preforms for hypersonic applications. We also maintain the capabilities to quickly manufacture certain legacy products—felt reusable surface insulation (FRSI) and strain isolation pads (SIP)—in small runs if needed to prove product equivalence.
3D textiles are materials that have three-dimensional structures. They can be made using a variety of methods, including weaving and braiding.
The process of manufacturing woven 3D textiles is gentle enough to handle brittle fibers (e.g., graphitic carbon and ceramics). It can be used to create fabrics as wide as 72 inches and as thick as 2 inches. Tex Tech woven 3D textiles are also available as near-net-shaped preforms and cross-sectional shapes (e.g., I-beam, H, π, or tapered designs). These materials are suitable for use as polymer matrix composites and in ceramic matrix composite (CMC) components.
The process of manufacturing braided 3D textiles forms cross-sections with through-volume fiber reinforcements. The cross-sections can be shaped like a C, circle, L, rectangle, ribbon, triangle, or wishbone. These materials are suitable for high-temperature gaskets and fastener reinforcements
Tex Tech Solutions for the Aerospace Industry
Tex Tech’s broad selection of products and services helps aerospace industry customers find the right solution for their material challenges.
- Our fire blocking materials are ideal for aircraft seating. They are durable, reliable, and cost-effective. Additionally, they meet regulations and standards relevant to the aerospace industry and beyond.
- Our thermal acoustic materials are suitable for controlling temperature and noise levels in aircraft. They stop external temperature changes and aircraft-generated noises from decreasing passenger and personnel comfort.
- Our TPS packages are perfect for protecting space vehicles from the extreme temperatures experienced during reentry.
- Our coating/laminating capabilities are used to create materials for life vests, life rafts, evacuation slides, and other similar products.
Tex Tech Product Applications in the Aerospace Industry
Tex Tech products are employed throughout the aerospace industry. For example:
- Our urethane laminated nylon fabrics are used in single- and dual-cell life vests, life rafts and escape slides.
- Our custom fire-blocking fabrics are used in first-class, business-class, economy, and crew seating.
- Our thermal acoustic fabrics are used to protect against temperature, noise, fire, and other adverse conditions.
- Our rayon fabrics are in solid rocket nozzles.
- Our TPS systems are used to protect space vehicles and rocket systems.
Tex Tech: Your Partner & Expert for Aerospace Textile Needs
Tex Tech is committed to providing innovative textile solutions to industrial problems. While we already hold numerous patents in the areas of protection, fuselage burn-through-resistant materials for aircraft, aircraft seat fire-blocking fabrics, and specialized material developments for advanced composite applications, we are always looking for ways to better serve our customers. To learn more about our aerospace offerings, contact us today.
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