New Partnership of Carbon ThreeSixty to Develop Revolutionary All-Composite Helicopter Wheel Takes Off

February 01 (2021

Carbon ThreeSixty is leading a new project co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to develop a revolutionary all-composite helicopter wheel.

The project started 1st Jan 2021 and will run for the next eighteen months. The NATEP project is being delivered in partnership with the National Composites Centre, collaborating with Leonardo and ultimately aims to improve performance, safety & full ownership cost.

The aim is to leverage the consortium’s combined expertise to design, develop and manufacture an ultra-low mass, robust, proof-of-concept carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) wheel for rotary wing aircraft.

A wheel made of CFRP will offer significantly enhanced mechanical properties at approximately half the density of metallic wheels. Compared to aluminum alloys, a CFRP wheel will be lighter, with higher performance with an extended working life.

The project will use cutting edge composite manufacturing technology such as tailored fiber placement (TFP), braiding and out-of-autoclave processes to ensure repeatability and scalability while utilizing novel product and process design to enable the partners to protect IP required to successfully manufacture the products. The project is expected to last around eighteen months, with a total budget of around GBP 250k.

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