Honeycomb Composite Made Lighter and Stronger
DuPont™ Nomex® and Kevlar® honeycomb composites and DuPont™ Kevlar® fiber in other forms helps provide lightweight strength, stiffness, toughness, corrosion resistance and other attributes, which bring high value-in-use to industries such as mass transportation, construction, and marine shipping.
For more than 30 years, the transportation industry has embraced honeycomb composite made with DuPont™ Nomex® for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, which helps to provide vital cost-effective benefits like energy savings and payload increases. Stiff, thin Nomex® sheet structures are used to help make strong, yet lightweight, honeycomb sandwich composite found in aircraft parts such flooring panels, interior walls, storage bins, exterior control surfaces, engine nacelles, and helicopter blades and tail booms. Nomex® honeycomb composites are also used in the construction of boats to help provide buoyancy that enhances speed.
Honeycomb composites made with DuPont™ Kevlar® entered the market about 15 years ago and proved to be the most efficient weight saving solution for the aerospace industry due to even higher specific strength and stiffness compared to DuPont™ Nomex® solutions.
Construction composites help strengthen concrete structures
DuPont™ Kevlar® deliver performance and value to customers in the construction composites industry by helping to provide better elongation properties. Kevlar® helps contain cracks in the structures caused by construction mistakes when natural disasters occur.
Kevlar® in marine composites helps provide an ideal balance of strength, stiffness, and lightweight properties for many marine applications. In patrol and service boats, higher speeds can be achieved by increasing engine power — this option has the potential to be prohibitively expensive. Another way is to reduce weight by incorporating Kevlar® fiber reinforcement in existing laminate constructions or in new designs. Kevlar ® fiber can help reinforced hulls reinforced be lighter yet tougher and more damage-tolerant, and perform better under hydrodynamic fatigue loading.
Both DuPont™ Kevlar® aramid fibers and DuPont™ Nomex® flame resistant fibers have proven to be highly suitable for the construction of hulls, superstructures, bulkheads, and furniture that are both tough and durable. In luxury yachts and large vessels 96 feet in length or more, hull and superstructure weight is a smaller proportion of total weight than in patrol or service boats. Larger boats still need to be constructed at minimum weight or within certain weight limitations. In this case, however, weight reductions are usually made to achieve speed increases, or to trade off the weight saved for improved fuel economy, for increased payload, or to carry more accessories.
The use of Kevlar® in leisure boats and for competition maxis, sailboats, and powerboats has gained wide recognition in the competition world. Sailboats (maxis) for participating in prestigious events such as the America’s Cup, the Glove Challenge, and the Whitbread Cup, as well as numerous offshore world championship powerboats, have attributed their success to the use of Kevlar® and Nomex® fiber in the construction of hulls and superstructures (including Kevlar® in sails). If speed is the main criterion for using advanced composite materials, their resistance to tough conditions comes in a close second.
French engineer Nadege Louerat helps build one of the biggest airplanes in the world – the Airbus A380. DuPont works closely with Airbus to help them provide lightweight, composite materials like honeycombs made of Nomex® and Kevlar®, which are used in the Airbus A380 to help increase airplane fuel efficiency and reduce aviation emissions.