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Frontiers July 2014 Issue

MULTIPLIER EFFECT: THE SEARCH FOR NEW COMPOSITES Composite materials have brought major changes to aerospace, and the search for new carbon-fiber materials is an important research challenge for Boeing and the industry. Boeing, Fokker, TenCate Advanced Composites and the University of Twente are founding members of the ThermoPlastic Composite Research Center (TPRC), which is based in Enschede in the Netherlands. TPRC was launched in 2009 and opened as a laboratory in June 2012. “For us, it’s a way to accelerate the development of thermoplastic technologies and applications that benefit our business units,” said Pia Snijder, Boeing’s global technology alliances and strategy director for Northern Europe. “There’s also a multiplier effect—we get a lot from our investment,” she added. As a board member with the research center, Snijder works with a variety of outside partners, both large and small, who are doing research in the field of thermoplastic composites. Since it opened, the research center has grown from four members to 12. Snijder is hoping membership will grow beyond aerospace to the automotive industry and others with an interest in thermoplastic composites. Thermoplastic composites tend to be lighter than other composite materials, and they are more ductile and impactresistant. While Boeing Research & Technology Global Technology takes the lead for the center, both Commercial Airplanes and Defense, Space & Security are involved. The composites research center is modeled after the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, which was founded by Boeing and the University of Sheffield. Based in South Yorkshire, England, it conducts machining research involving high-performance alloys and composites. n Frontiers July 2014 19


Frontiers July 2014 Issue
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