Agilent is Helping to Make Aerospace More “Green”

One of the biggest challenges facing the aerospace industry is how to make aircraft lighter, more efficient and therefore more environmentally friendly.

Advanced materials such as carbon composites can make aeronautic components stronger and lighter.  Manufacturers could achieve an even bigger weight reduction – as much as 15 percent – by replacing rivets with adhesives.  This would result in lower fuel consumption and smaller, quieter engines.  The problem is that current testing methods were developed for metals, not composites.

To address this, the European Union has funded a three-year R&D initiative called ENCOMB (short for “Extended Non-Destructive Testing of Composite Bonds”).  ENCOMB’s primary objective is “the identification, development and adaptation of methods suitable for the assessment of adhesive bond quality.”

Agilent is one of 14 partners in ENCOMB, which also includes Airbus, the European Aeronautics Science Network and the University of Bristol.  In a technology evaluation, the Agilent 4100 ExoScan Series FTIR handheld spectrometer was the only solution that showed high potential for surface-quality measurements across ENCOMB’s four measurement scenarios.

“This has been a very successful partnership for Agilent, says Agilent’s Phil Binns.  “Once again we have seen the direct relevance of our new handheld instrumentation in the advanced materials market and its potential to open doors for us.”

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