Common Textiles Used in Aerospace

Textiles are used in so many different applications, due to the full range of properties they have. Technical textiles are not used for decorative characteristics but are manufactured specifically for their functional properties and technical performance. One industry that uses textiles is aerospace.

Space shuttle

Textiles used in aerospace go from the uniforms of the cabin crew to the textile materials used in the engineering and the specially made textiles for space suits and space shuttles. As the aerospace industry covers so much, it is no surprise that textiles are a commonly used material. Below we are looking at the textiles most used in the industry and why.

Carbon Fibre

Carbon fibre is a material consisting of extremely thin fibres, around 5-10 micrometres in diameter and has many properties which make it ideal for use in aerospace. It has high stiffness, good tensile strength, is lightweight, is chemical resistant, has high-temperature tolerance and low thermal expansion. Carbon fibres are used as reinforcing moulds and as heat insulation, as well as special components in aviation craft.

Kevlar Fibre

Kevlar is a strong heat resistant synthetic material, made up of aramids, heat resistant fibres. The high strength material has seen many uses since its invention in the 1960s. The fact it is heat resistant, has high strength, offers resistance to abrasion, possesses good fabric integrity at extreme temperatures and is malleable makes it good for aerospace applications. They are mainly used as containment wraps, an important role if there are broken engine blades which could damage the aircraft or enter an area filled with passengers.

Space suit

Glass Fibre

Glass fibre is material made up of numerous fine fibres of glass. The properties which make it suitable for use in aerospace design and engineering includes its high specific strength, its resistance to chemical and organic solvents, thermal insulation and thermal resistance and impact resistance. Glass fibre also has low flammability, making it useful for space rockets which have to enter the atmosphere at high speeds.

Ceramic Fibres

Known by its trade name Nextel, ceramic fibres are used by NASA for their space shuttles. Nextel is stronger than aluminium, fireproof and a ceramic fibre that keeps satellites from being smashed by meteoroids. The material is flexible, heat and corrosion resistant and can withstand temperatures as high as 1500 degrees Celsius. NASA uses Nextel for space shuttles, as they needed a material which could stand the temperatures at re-entry. The ceramic fibre was then used to fill gaps between orbiter tiles and woven into heat shields and insulation blankets. The material is also used in aircraft, lining aeroplane compartments to help prevent the spread of fire.


Desirable Properties

Though being heat resistant and chemical resistant are some of the most desirable properties for textiles used in aerospace, there are other properties that are needed, from a maintenance standpoint. These include being washable, abrasion and tear resistant, and also be stable in UV light.

The textiles and materials available from Textile Technologies are used in a variety of industries, from shipbuilding to mining, as well as commercial aviation, which is included in the aerospace industry. From heat exhaust wrap to an asbestos replacement, we can supply the materials you need for your business.

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