Airbus continues its TAPAS partnership with the Dutch thermoplastic composite sector

The Thermoplastic Affordable Primary Aircraft Structure (TAPAS) programme’s second phase was officially initiated this month with signature of a contract between Airbus, Fokker Aerostructures and TenCate Advanced Composites.

22 January 2014 Feature story

This accord – signed in the presence of French President François Hollande, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp – extends Airbus’ partnership with the nation’s thermoplastic industry consortium through 2017, and formalises a letter of intent announced at the 2013 Paris Air Show. 

As part of the TAPAS 2 agreement, the project partners will work to develop a demonstration tail section made entirely of thermoplastic composite material, which is to follow the first large-scale fuselage component model made using thermoplastic composites, produced during TAPAS 1. 

Lightweight, strong thermoplastic composites offer 15 per cent weight savings compared with traditional aircraft materials, reducing fuel consumption, while increasing the jetliner’s range and payload. Airbus is pursuing the technology for potential applications in the aircraft’s fuselage, pylons and wet torsion boxes.

Airbus’ TAPAS programme partnership with the Dutch thermoplastic cluster also includes: Airborne Composites, CoDeT, the Delft University of Technology, DTC, KE-works, KVE, the Netherlands National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR), Technobis Fiber Technologies, and the University of Twente.