By introducing next-generation surfacing and bonding materials to the aerospace industry, we’re enabling lighter aircraft that can fly faster, higher and farther for less cost.
As demand for air travel has continually increased, so has the demand for seating space, which means more planes. At the same time, the industry is seeking to increase efficiency with aircraft that can fly farther, and on less fuel. As a result, today’s planes are undergoing an unprecedented switch to composites and specially formulated materials that are lighter, tougher and more resistant to corrosion. Whereas aircraft 15 years ago used less than 10% composites, today’s designs employ more than 50%.
Although this switch to lighter materials comes with challenges, 3M’s breakthrough technologies are up to the task. Composite parts can’t be fastened by traditional methods such as rivets, but our structural adhesive bonding films help assemble aircraft that are stronger and safer than their predecessors. Another issue is that, unlike aluminium, composite materials can’t absorb the lightning strikes that aircraft commonly encounter. But our specially designed films, applied to the outside of the aircraft, add conductivity and help protect the plane, minimising damage and the need for repair.
The noses of both planes pictured here are made of composite materials. But only one is protected by 3M™ Polyurethane Protective Boots.
Even aircraft as much as 40 years old benefit from these composite materials, retrofitted with new, lighter, more efficient engines. However, these materials needed extra strength to survive the major wear and tear of wind, dirt, rain and even bird strikes. Enter 3M’s strong 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Composite Surfacing Films, helping to keep these critical parts safe from erosion and maximising efficient performance.
Wherever planes fly, 3M’s innovative materials enable them to go higher and farther for less cost. Our work in this area has created a new portfolio of cutting-edge product solutions, with major airlines calling on 3M to collaborate on new opportunities and challenges. From the film and adhesive technologies to window restoration systems, and thermal and acoustic installation, 3M Aerospace will continue to drive future innovations that enable more efficient, next-generation aircraft to take flight.
“People across the world can experience the benefits of improved efficiency and safety in the aerospace industry. That’s why we come to work every day.”
- Denise Rutherford
Vice-President & General Manager, 3M Aerospace & Aircraft Maintenance Division
3M Aerospace offers many advanced technologies for aircraft interiors, exteriors and structures.
Strength to hold a structural panel for the life of a building. Or so gentle, they yield to a child.
From simple single-layered films to complex films tuned to transmit or reflect specific wavelengths.