Paneling components in commercial aircrafts, e.g. side walls or ceiling plates, currently consist of sandwich components with top layers of glass-fiber reinforced phenolic resin prepregs in combination with aramid honeycomb cores. Thermal and acoustic insulation is achieved by attaching a glass wool package to the rear side. However, the production of the side walls is very time-consuming and the glass wool packages tend to store water during flight, which can lead to weight gain and mold growth. The SOPHIA project approaches a new integral foam construction in combination with a thermoplastic cover layer, for which the processing of fire-resistant polymer compound is researched. A special fire-resistant particle foam is used as structural foam, which is bonded to the top during an efficient thermoforming process. The application of the decorative layer on the surface at the cabin side ensures the required optical and haptical properties. Within the scope of the project, IVW is, among other points, responsible for the development of the top layer as well as a thermoforming process for foam and top layer. Detailed investigations on matrix compatibility and process parameter selection were carried out. Currently the inmould-skinning of open-pore polymer foams during hot mold pressing and their use as cover layer is being investigated.
Within the SOPHIA project, a fundamentally new integral foam construction with thermoplastic cover layer for cabin components is being developed using the sidewall as an example.