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The Application of Polymer in Aeronautics

Muhammad Nibras Azza Adhikara Purusa (1606864840)

Polymer has become a backbone of human life. Each and every stuff that we used and
observe consists of polymers. One of the industries is aeronautics. The invention of
aeronautics had improved from time to time to meet human being needs. Polymers are widely
used in different parts of aircraft and aerospace due to its advantage such as having a high
strength with light weight, the ability to have a good dimensional stability, and have a good
fracture resistance compare to metals or ceramics. [1] But to maximize the strength of each
component in the aircraft, the polymers are mixed with other material to makes a composite
material that have a greater advantage and benefit to the aeronautics industry.
If we look closely to the aircraft we can observe the maximum used of polymer in
each body part. The first things are the aircraft component. The airframe, wings, nose tail
plane and others component are made out of polymer due to its excellent properties. The
materials are used need to have good thermal and mechanical properties so that the aircraft
are durable and long last. Beside those things polymers material provide a good resistance to
aging and good resistance to fracture compare to any type of materials. Beside the aircraft
visible component there are materials and part that are used for fixing purpose which are ball
bearings, seals and other parts. Continue to the internal part of an aircraft we can see that
most of the cabin interior and equipment are made out of polymer due to its lightweight. For
instance, the control unit on the cockpit of an aircraft is mainly made out of polymer because
it has good electrical and thermal properties. Beside those things, the control unit inside the
cockpit needs to be easy to handle and moves, do not contain any toxics substance that may
distract the pilot and it needs to have a good durability for a long-lasting purpose. Continue to
the cabin interior where the entire passenger seat, polymers are used on the lighting systems,
seat, disposal system, on board kitchen and other component. Due to its lightweight and
cheapness polymer are chooses to fill up the entire cabin. Last but not lease polymer is used
in the propulsion system. Inside the propulsion system it needs a good thermal resistance and
goof sliding properties that polymer can provides. [2]
As its mention before, that polymer is a magnificent invention for human being
because polymer gives perfect properties for the needs of human being especially aircraft.
The used of polymer are not good enough for the aircraft component so that polymers are
mixed with another materials which can be another polymer to make a composite with high
advantage from before. The polymer itself has a great advantage. The first one is that
polymer is lightweight. It has a great strength to weight ratio in which it has a very high
strength at the lowest weight. Usually the addition of material that results to composite can
maximize the strength and weight ratio. Some of the plastic component can be ten times
lighter compare to the metal parts. Due to its lightweight the aircraft can reduce the fuel
consumption and eventually effects the reduction of climate change.[3] The second advantage
is polymer are easily to made or fabricate so that it have a low cost compare to fabricate the
metals. Next, the polymers are the resistance from corrosion so that it can reduce the cost of
maintained. Due to its advantage, polymer also used on the glass of the aircraft because it has
a high impact resistance compare to ceramics which is increases the safety to the passenger.
The fourth advantage is that polymer and composite have a good dimensional stability. The
polymer composite can stay on its shapes and size in any condition one of the parts is the
aircraft wings. The polymer composite can sustain its ideal condition even though it’s under
through any condition such as the changes of altitudes. Last but not lease, the polymers have
a great durability. The structures which are made out of polymers and composite have a long
life and need little maintenance. So that it is perfect to be used outside or inside the aircraft.
High performance polymers are used to build an aircraft. But most of the part consists
of polymer with an additional material those results to composite. Pure polymer also have
disadvantage that may result to the overall end product. To cover up disadvantage of polymer
and additional materials that maybe a polymer can cover up those disadvantage and create a
great materials that are suitable for the use of aircraft. One of the company that provide
polymers for aircraft is Ensinger.[4] They provide different type of plastics for different part
for aircraft. The first part is called Sintimid. These materials have a continuous service
temperature up to 572 Fahrenheit. It has a good strength and rigidity that’s perfect for aircraft
purpose. The second plastic is Tecatron. These plastics have a high strength, rigidity and
hardness. It has the ability of chemical resistance even at high temperature. Excellent
dimensional stability with the help of low water absorption. The third product that they prefer
is Torlon, a plastic with high mechanical strength and toughness with a very good creep
resistance and a low thermal expansion alongside with high thermal resistance. Besides that,
Torlon have a good flame resistance that can survive up to 500 degree Fahrenheit. The third
objects that they provide are Tecapeek, a semi-crystalline plastic with a good strength,
rigidity and hardness. It is resistant to different types of hydraulic fluid and chemical. The
last, Tecapeek also have a low smoke gas emission and low toxicity of the smoke gases.[4]
Beside those plastic mentioned above, Ensinger also make different part for aircraft that
meets the demand and purpose of its function.
The used of polymer and composite are variety enough. Above, is the production of
polymer from a company name Ensinger. But there are still common polymers that are used
for aircraft purpose. The first polymer is Polyeheretherketone (PEEK) [3] which is a semi
crystalline organic polymer. It provides superior mechanical and thermal properties that
include creep resistance and low flammability. Then, this polymer also can handle a large
doses of radiation. PEEKS have an excellent hydrolysis resistance which means can be
exposed to high pressure water without degradation on its part. The used of this polymer
include valve seats and on the pump gears. Continue to the second material which is
Thermosetting Polyimide [3] under the trademark of MELDIN 7001. These polymers have
great mechanical properties combine with high resistance to material. Contain higher ductility
than ceramics and lower weight compare the metal alloys. This polymer is used on small
parts inside the aircraft such as insulator for threaded nuts. The last common polymer on an
aircraft is Polychlorotrifluoroethylene or known as PCTFE [4]. It’s a fluorochemical plastic
with a great blend of physical, mechanical properties alongside with chemical and fire
resistance. It also able to handle a drastic temperature changes up to -400 Fahrenheit until 400
Fahrenheit. Due to its properties PCTFE are perfectly used for the outside layers of an
aircraft.
The combination of different polymers inside an aircraft gives the ability to produce
excellent end products that are suitable to human being. Polymers are widely used due to its
advantage compare to metals or ceramics. But with that advantage, polymers also have
disadvantage so that those disadvantage are cover up with other materials or substance that
create a composite. Composite is an excellent material because it is perfectly modified for a
certain type of purpose. The invention of polymers and composite have change human life
drastically. The advanced of invention on developing material create a positive effect to the
development of technology that are used to help the human being doing their daily activity.
Without any innovation and changes human being will stay on a stagnant condition that
brings down the humanity to darker ages.
Bibliography

 [3] Craftech. “Why the Aerospace Industry Loves Plastic Material”. Craftech
Industries. Web. 6 September 2017.
 [4] Ensinger. “High-Performance Plastics for Aviation and Aerospace’. Ensinger. 7
January 2017. Web. 6 September 2017.
 [2] Ensinger. “Plastics Used in Aerospace Technology”. Ensinger, October 2014.
Web. 6 September 2017.
 Meador, Michael A. “Polymeric Materials for Aerospace Power and Propulsion
NASA Glenn Overview”. NASA. 7 April 2008. Web. 6 September 2017.
 [1] Njuguna, James. Pielichowski, Krzysztof. “The Role of Advance Polymer
Materials in Aerospace”. Research Gate. October 2013. Web. 6 September 2017
 Spampinato,Alessio. “The Materials used in the Design of Aircraft Wings”. Azo
Materials. 9 June 2015. Web. September 6, 2017
 Young, Robin. “Polymers in Defense and Aerospace Application”. British Plastics
Federation. February 2010. Web. 6 September 2017