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New Composite Building Process

Innegra ‘Infusion’ May Make Aircraft Safer

By Ken Fickett

July 27, 2016 - Burt Rutan said more than a decade ago that a completely new process would one day develop that would revolutionize the construction of composite aircraft. He predicted a fuselage could be built in a very short period of time and would include the possibility of having bulkheads and other parts all built simultaneously in one monolithic part. 

Russ Emanis, chief composite engineer at Innegra Technologies, may have the team that will make Rutan’s prediction reality. 

The process Rutan imagined, according to Emanis, is here now and instead of using brushes and rollers to saturate composite materials as is routine in composite construction — well, think suction. In the new process, liquid resin is pulled into synthetic fabrics, including carbon fiber and his team’s own fiber called Innegra, via suction. The uniform and repeatable process yields results not obtainable with conventional lamination, he explained, and promises to make composite aircraft safer.

Emanis is showcasing the process and the new composite material Innegra at AirVenture all week at the Advanced Composite Infusion tent next to the Replica Fighter Association building. At demonstrations today the most exciting step in the process will be showcased as fuselages for two separate aircraft are infused with a resin matrix
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