Airbus A350 Thermoplastic Clips

When aerospace professionals talk about the potential of thermoplastics in commercial aircraft, the focus often turns to large primary structures and the feasibility of molding them from carbon fiber-reinforced polyetheretherketone (PEEK), polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), polyetherimide (PEI), polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) and similar highly engineered plastics.

Although commercial jet manufacturers Airbus (Toulouse, France) and The Boeing Co. (Chicago, Ill.) are indeed scrutinizing the potential for thermoplastic composites in everything from tail to wing to fuselage structures (for one successful venture, see “Learn More”), the truth is that thermoplastics have already earned a largely unheralded but significant place in structural applications — at high volumes — on commercial aircraft that are in production today.

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