The potential use of thermoplastic composites technology on Airbus aircraft took a new step this month as Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp signed a letter of intent for a proposed extension of the Thermoplastic Affordable Primary Aircraft Structure (TAPAS) consortium.
Airbus’ Executive Vice President Engineering Charles Champion signed the TAPAS 2 proposal during a Paris Air Show ceremony at Le Bourget Airport with Kamp and other participants from the Dutch thermoplastic composite industry. TAPAS 2 will succeed TAPAS 1, which was initiated in 2009 with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs to expand the development of this technology by Dutch companies and institutions for Airbus aircraft.
The project recently revealed a demonstration model of an innovative fuselage panel for Airbus, the first time such a large-scale fuselage component has been made using thermoplastic composites. Airbus is targeting the technology for potential uses in an aircraft’s fuselage, pylons and wet torsion boxes.
For the TAPAS programme, Airbus’ partnership with the Dutch thermoplastic cluster includes: Fokker Aerostructures, TenCate Advanced Composites, DTC, KVE Composites Group, Airborne Technology Centre, Technobis Fibre Technologies, CoDeT, KE-works, the National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands (NLR), Delft University of Technology and the University of Twente.