Inorganic-organic hybrid coatings reinforced with nano-particles have been developed by EADS to protect fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) components against the mechanical damage of rain erosion.
EADS erosion protection coatings are based on an inorganic-organic hybrid matrix reinforced with hard nano-particles and are designed to be applied as a top coat either on painted FRP components or painted metallic parts as an erosion-resistant top coat. The use of composite materials such as fiber-reinforced polymers (FRPs) is continuously increasing in the aircraft industry, along with their growing application in the wind energy and automotive industries, as well as other sectors.
While FRPs offer the advantages of high strength-to-weight ratios, low density and low thermal expansion coefficients, they are more sensitive than metallic materials to mechanical impacts caused by solid particles (such as sand) and liquid impacts (including rain). The erosion protection coatings developed at EADS demonstrate increased rain erosion protection performance in comparison to standard organic paints (which have not demonstrated sufficient durability) and offer a replacement opportunity for metallic caps (which have the disadvantage of high weight).
Protection of FRP components against rain erosion in such uses as wing and surface leading edges on civil/military aircraft, as well as blades for helicopters and wind turbines. Applied by standard painting equipment (out-of-bath, spraying).
Increased durability and extended service intervals.
Development; feasibility demonstrated in laboratory conditions.