Solvay and Leonardo partner to develop research lab for thermoplastic composites
The agreement is meant as the first step in platform collaboration on short and mid-term applications in aerospace and beyond.
Belgium-based chemical maker Solvay and Leonardo, one of Italy’s leading technology development companies, have launched a joint research lab to develop novel composite materials and production processes critical for the future of the aerospace industry.
The Solvay Leonardo Joint Lab will be based at the Leonardo Lab in Grottaglie, southern Italy, and at Solvay’s MSAC – Material Science Application Center in Brussels. In addition, the joint laboratory will have access to both companies’ internal infrastructures and collaborations with institutions, research centres and universities, in Italy and abroad.
In a news release, Solvay officials said the lab will focus on thermoplastic “engineered materials” and in particular on welding and automatic lamination (in-situ consolidation) of complex and large aerospace structures with the goal of maximizing product properties, increasing part production efficiency and extending the product life cycle. “The focus is on thermoplastic composites as they offer unique benefits to users such as lightweighting for more fuel-efficient aircraft and they do not require autoclave for part consolidation thus enabling the development of much more sustainable production lines,” the release said. “Leonardo and Solvay believe that this agreement will be the foundation for further platform collaboration on short and mid-term applications in aerospace and beyond.”
“This collaboration is in line with the G.R.O.W. strategy of Solvay to strengthen our leadership position as supplier of innovative composite materials for aerospace and other markets” said Nicolas Cudre-Mauroux, Solvay’s chief technology and innovation officer. “We believe that the partnership with Leonardo will boost our ability to develop breakthrough thermoplastic composite solutions and substantially increase their adoption in aerospace, contributing to reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.”