03/21/2012

 

Interview with Stefan Wickmann

As a leading global supplier of adhesives, Henkel will again be present this year at the world’s No. 1 trade fair for the composites industry, JEC Europe 2012 in Paris. In a short interview, Stefan Wickmann, General Manager Aerospace, tells where and how Henkel adhesives for composites are used in the aerospace industry.

Adhesives are increasingly replacing bolts and rivets in aircraft construction as well. How, exactly, are adhesives used in aircraft?
WICKMANN:
Traditionally, metal-based aircraft types such as the Airbus 320 or the Boeing 737 required a large number of rivets or bolts to assemble the various sections and structures. Today, however, more and more lightweight materials – composites such as fiber reinforced plastics which are made of polymers reinforced with, for example, carbon or glass fibers– are being used in aircraft manufacturing. Fuselages, wings, rudders and ailerons are constructed from these lightweight composites. These materials and the advanced production processes reduce the number of rivets required by about 60 percent. This is where adhesives come in – because, unlike rivets, they do not damage the fiber structures in the composites. Structural adhesives are therefore the joining technology for aircraft manufacturing. These are specialty adhesives which have particularly good thermal and chemical resistance as well as high cohesion. The adhesives not only have to be strong yet flexible, but also be easy to process and cure fast.

And why do adhesives make aircraft especially safe?
WICKMANN:
In the aircraft industry, adhesive bonds have to perform under extreme conditions. They must withstand static and dynamic forces over a period of many years and be resistant to weathering. Tests have shown that adhesives increase structural integrity and reduce material fatigue, as well as lowering noise levels inside the aircraft. The reasons are very simple: An adhesive bonds materials without damaging them. The specific properties of the parts being bonded are not changed, whereas riveting and bolting require holes to be drilled, which damages the parts and weakens them. So using adhesives improves material safety, comfort, and weight. And adhesives can also incorporate additional functions like insulation and corrosion protection – all of these are advantages that traditional joining methods cannot offer.

Which innovation for the aerospace industry will you be presenting this year?
WICKMANN:
This year, Henkel will be introducing the innovative epoxy film Hysol EA 9845 SF, which can save up to 30 percent weight, as well as the high-temperature epoxy film adhesive Hysol EA 9658.05, which remains thermally stable even after thousands of hours operating at extremely high temperatures of about 350°F or 177°C and is therefore ideal for continuous use in high-temperature environments.
Products for assembling high-temperature components have already been used for more than 20 years in structural applications and metal honeycomb structures. We offer a complete range of perfectly matched materials and have the largest portfolio of high-temperature adhesive pastes and films.


Stefan Wickmann, General Manager Aerospace
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Stefan Wickmann, General Manager Aerospace
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Stefan Wickmann, General Manager Aerospace
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web 
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