Tiltrotor Aircraft Components

End-Use Case Study
  • High temperature compounds
  • Excellent dimensional stability, strength and rigidity
  • Weight reduction

Tiltrotor

The Osprey “tiltrotor” aircraft typifies the innovation and creativity common to the aerospace industry. The V-22 was originally developed in response to a directive from the Department of Defense in 1981. In 1994, the DOD authorized development of “production representative” aircraft which will lead to additional V-22 production.

Between 1989 and 1994, when the program was temporarily halted, Bell Helicopter Textron in Ft. Worth, TX and Boeing Helicopters (through a teaming arrangement) incorporated the latest material and design technologies into the V-22 program. This effort reduces production costs by nearly 24 percent. Electronic modeling, integrated product teams and advanced materials/fabrication are key contributors leading to the savings.

The tiltrotor capabilities of the V-22 allow for vertical takeoffs and landings, and turboprop speeds and range. The Osprey is designed to fill important military and civilian roles including amphibious assault, special operations, remote transport, law enforcement, and search and rescue.

The EAPS (engine air particle separator) doors and door housings on the V-22 are located beneath the engines. The application dictates an ablative material with high strength, rigidity and heat resistance. The ablative property reduces heat-induced warpage, allowing the part to retain its airfoil shape. An RTP 2200 Series polyetheretherketone (PEEK™) carbon fiber reinforced compound achieves all material requirements.

The Osprey’s fuel vent tanks, located along the back edge of each wing, allow for fuel overflow. The tanks are produced by “lost core” molding. This process uses low melt temperature metals as a core for the molded part. Then, the core is melted out of the part. The material used is an RTP 2200 Series (PEEK™) carbon fiber-reinforced formulation.

The nacelle blower, located in the rear section of the aircraft engines, was designed by Able Corp., Yorba Linda, CA. The impeller of this blower is fabricated from an RTP 2200 Series (PEEK™) compound with a high loading of carbon fiber.

Currently in research and development, the V-22’s drive assembly spline adapter is being injection molded from an RTP 4200 Series thermoplastic polyimide (TPI) compound. The adapter is located between the propeller and engine. The reinforced TPI is formulated to achieve excellent dimensional stability, strength and rigidity. Previously, the part was made of a PAI material.

RTP Company worked with Bell engineers and molder RAM, Inc. of Cisco, TX to achieve critical material performance standards in several areas including weight reduction.

“Projects like the Osprey require a team effort,” says Bob Morris, RAM general manager. “RTP Company formulates compounds meeting difficult requirements. Their ability to deliver consistent and quality compounds is a real advantage, especially on projects like this.”

Several other parts using RTP Company compounds are being considered for use in later production models.

RAM, Inc. is an injection molder serving the aerospace and defense industries. With complete design, mold making and molding capabilities, RAM, Inc. specializes in high temperature and structural applications for both prototype and production projects. For information, call RAM, Inc. at 817-442-1008.

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