In the aerospace industry, plastic is the material of the future. Most obviously, aircraft interior parts are being made of plastic with increasing frequency. But there are plenty of other applications that are increasingly benefitting from plastic as well. Let's explore all the nooks and crannies — both obvious and unexpected — where aircraft plastics can be found.
Interior Wall Panels And Luggage Compartments
Airplane panels and luggage compartments are often made of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, or ABS plastic. This plastic is highly suitable for vacuum forming, so it can be manipulated into a wide variety of shapes. Its heavy-duty strength and lightweight density makes it the perfect application for airplane interior parts.
Ventilation Ducting And Seals
A benefit of many acrylic and polycarbonate plastics is their resistance to thermal expansion. Given that aircraft are often subjected to extreme temperatures, it's important that all of the plane's parts stay secured. Choosing plane plastics with a high degree of thermal stability will give an aircraft added durability without weighing it down.
Aircraft Doors And Fuselages
Even aircraft exteriors are being constructed with plastic. On top of greatly reducing the weight of the plane, which makes it more economical, airplane plastics are resistant to several kinds of corrosion. They can withstand hydrolysis, or high levels of pressurized water and steam, and radiation on top of their resistance to high and low temperatures.
From wiring conduits to bushings and bearings, aircraft plastics can be found down to a plane's smallest components. The ability to use lightweight materials for as many parts of a plane as possible contributes greatly to aircraft becoming a more economical form of travel. Burning less fuel not only means cheaper airfare, but also less impact on the environment from engine fumes.
Aircraft interior plastic is allowing engineers to design revolutionary airplane layouts that are not only more ergonomic, but more aesthetically pleasing as well. Plastic is much easier to mold and shape than more traditional aircraft materials, like rubber and aluminum, while being much lighter and just as safe, if not safer. This freedom of design will help future generations of aircraft be the safest, most affordable and comfortable yet.
In Short, Aircraft Plastics Can Be Found In These Applications:
- Aircraft interior parts like panels, luggage compartments, seats and trays
- Ventilation ducting and seals
- Fuselages, rudders and landing components
- Other small technical components, such as wiring and bearings
- Innovative designs that represent the future of aircraft
Keep Learning With A&C Plastics
Our aerospace plastic industry page has plenty of other resources that explore the many features of aircraft plastics. You can also view our full catalog of flight-ready ABS plastic sheets, acrylic plastic sheets, polycarbonate sheet plastic and more.