Developed by Mitsubishi Chemical Group, BIOpreg PFA is a bio-based intermediate prepreg material that presents a more sustainable alternative to the phenolic systems commonly used to build structural panels in commercial aircrafts.
The Furan resin system is formaldehyde-free and derived from sugar cane waste. The material can be impregnated with a range of reinforcement fibers, including 7781 glass fabric. Switching to BIOpreg PFA requires no retooling, as the material can be processed into components on the same equipment used to make phenolic-based parts.
Resin derived from sugar cane waste
Where phenolic resin systems are derived from fossil fuels, BIOpreg PFA uses bio-based Furan – a formaldehyde-free furfural resin derived from fibers that are a by-product of sugar cane processing.
Pure Furan is then mixed with various additives, such as flame or smoke retardants, in order to meet application requirements. Depending on the specifications, the resulting resin can consist of up to 95% bio-based ingredients.
Compared to phenolic systems, the organic origins of Furan resin contribute to a significant reduction in the lifetime climate impact of the part.
Equivalent conversion methods
BIOpreg PFA can be converted into sandwich panels, for example as a structural surface skin molded to honeycomb panels, using the same equipment and processes as phenolic systems. The material is processable via vacuum bagging, autoclaving, and hot compression molding, using similar cycle times to phenolic-based resin systems.
BIOpreg PFA is compatible with a wide range of reinforcement fibers, including 7781 glass fabric, recycled carbon fiber, or 2x2 twill carbon fabrics.
Sustainability meets performance
BIOpreg PFA is virtually equivalent to phenolic panels in terms of processing, performance specifications, and pricing – making the switch to a more sustainable material a virtually seamless one.
BIOpreg PFA meets all FST requirements for use in commercial aircraft interiors, even producing less smoke and less toxicity in burn tests than phenolic resin. The bio-based Furan resin can also be enhanced with further addivites to achieve even greater flame resistance and flame retardancy properties.
In-depth LCA data can be provided to help OEMs calculate the impact of switching from phenolic to Biopreg on their Scope 3 GHG emissions.
Building cabin sidewalls from bio-based and recycled materials
Using a combination of BIOpreg PFA and rCF veils, MCG collaborated with Airbus to develop a circular solution for commercial aviation – a project that was so successful, it was a finalist in the 2023 Crystal Cabin Awards in the category "Sustainable Cabin."
The resulting material demonstrated the ability to be formed into the complex double-curve geometry needed for the sidewalls. In addition to meeting all weight and flame retardancy requirements, LCA data confirmed that the use of bio-based resin and recycled carbon fiber veils contribute to a significant improvement in the climate impact of the sidewall panels.
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