Epoxy resins are polymers and prepolymers that form a durable and versatile substance for use in many industrial and consumer applications. Epoxy resins form this substance when they react with curing agents or hardeners, including phenolic compounds, aminoamides, and polyamines.
The aerospace industry often relies on epoxy resins for various types of applications making epoxy one of the most prevalent materials in this sector.
Applications of Epoxy Resins in the Aerospace Industry
Space presents a harsh environment for many materials, which is why materials must be of a grade that can hold up in demanding aerospace conditions. Aerospace grade epoxy resins form a strong bond that aerospace applications require throughout the length of a mission. Unlike other adhesives that may become brittle when exposed to harsh conditions, epoxy resins can hold up when exposed to space for long periods of time. Specifically, they can withstand radiation, microcracking, extreme temperatures, vacuum conditions, and atomic oxygen (AO).
The aerospace industry uses epoxy resin in many innovative ways, including spacecraft hardware fabrication, space suit reinforcement, and improving flame retardancy. This thermosetting polymer’s combined adaptivity and flexibility make it ideal for use in many space travel solutions. Epoxy resins are also used in spacecraft for staking, sealing, coating, encapsulating, potting, and bonding various structural, electronic, and mechanical components.
Advantages of Using Epoxy in the Aerospace Industry
Epoxy resins offer a few key benefits that make them ideal for use in the aerospace industry. These advantages include:
In the 1970s, airplane designs first implemented epoxy resins in the form of boron-reinforced epoxy composite materials. Specifically, the empennage skins of F14 and F15 fighter jets used this material to improve their performance and longevity.
The first uses of epoxy resins in this industry incorporated them into secondary structures, but engineers eventually saw their value for primary structures, including fuselages and wings. Using these materials in a wider variety of aircraft components helped to improve the entire aircraft’s performance.
The increased use of epoxy resin in primary structures started with the F18, which used around 19% of composite materials, while the F15 only used around 2%. Meanwhile, the F22 used 24%. Eventually, commercial aircraft also began to use this material because of its environmental advantages.
In addition to bonding and finishing parts in structural composite applications, epoxy has played a key role in increasing the longevity of structural parts. Many anti-corrosion coatings and adhesives use epoxy resins to either complement or replace mechanical fasteners and other bonding methods.
Another benefit of epoxy resins is their sustainability, which results from weight reduction. As regulatory authorities increasingly target CO2 emissions across various industries, the aerospace industry and international carriers have needed to overcome the challenge of reaching emissions goals. Because of these increased regulations, electric aircraft may serve as a critical solution to help mitigate emission growth.
The development of electric aircraft will likely further boost the demand for more lightweight structures, especially with the increased weight of battery packs requiring measures to offset it. Epoxy resins offer an ideal solution for bonding and fastening applications while reducing overall weight.
High-Quality Epoxy Resins at Copps Industries
At Copps Industries, we offer custom epoxy products for the aerospace industry and others based on customer requirements. Since 1979, we have produced and formulated various epoxy products, including:
- Aggregate and Mining – Crusher Backing
- Composite Epoxy Systems
- Concrete Coatings and Joint Filler
- Construction Epoxies DOT/C-881 Products
- Industrial and OEM Solutions
- Machinery Installation Grouts
- Precast Form Coatings and Repair Materials
- Wear Resistant and Maintenance Products
We can help you find the right solution for your aerospace application, regardless of your project specifications. If you would like more information about our reliable aerospace epoxy resin products and our capabilities, request a quote from us today and we’ll connect you with one of our industry experts.