Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium) and technology company Leonardo announced the launch of a joint research lab dedicated to the development of novel composite materials and production processes critical for the future of the aerospace industry. This collaboration represents an important milestone in enabling a step-change in composite part manufacture and in reducing environmental impacts.
The Solvay Leonardo Joint Lab will focus on thermoplastic “engineered materials” and in particular on welding and automatic lamination (in-situ consolidation) of complex and large aerospace structures with the goal of maximising product properties, increasing part production efficiency and extending the product life cycle. The focus is on thermoplastic composites as they offer unique benefits to users such as lightweighting for more fuel efficient aircraft and they do not require autoclave for part consolidation thus enabling the development of much more sustainable production lines. Leonardo and Solvay believe that this agreement will be the foundation for further platform collaboration on short and mid-term applications in aerospace and beyond.
“This collaboration is in line with the G.R.O.W. strategy of Solvay to strengthen our leadership position as supplier of innovative composite materials for aerospace and other markets” shared Nicolas Cudre-Mauroux, Solvay Chief Technology and Innovation Officer. “We believe that the partnership with Leonardo will boost our ability to develop breakthrough thermoplastic composite solutions and substantially increase their adoption in aerospace, contributing to reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions”.
“This collaboration with Solvay is a significant step in research on advanced materials, which are part of the R&D programs to be developed by the Leonardo Labs.” underlines Roberto Cingolani, Leonardo’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer. The research area, central to Leonardo, is a key factor of competitiveness, and it will make it possible to improve the performance and safety of our products, to expand its potential, with a direct return on the environmental impact and consumption of resources, boosting a circular and efficient production system”.
by Mary Page Bailey
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