Conference paper Open Access

Environmental and financial performance evaluation of a helicopter's canopy production using different materials and manufacturing processes

Ch.V.Katsiropoulos; A.Loukopoulos; Sp.G. Pantelakis

In the present work Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing models (LCC) were developed for quantifying the financial and environmental performance of different material (carbon fiber reinforced thermosetting and carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites) and manufacturing scenarios (autoclave, RTM and CDF) associated with the production of aeronautical structural components. To validate the models developed, they were implemented for the case of a helicopter’s canopy. The results from the analysis pointed out the environmental and financial 1advantage of producing the canopy from carbon fiber reinforced thermosetting composites involving RTM as the manufacturing process. On the other hand, the environmental and financial viability of the scenarios including thermoplastic composites as the material of choice is impaired from both the high embodied energy and raw material cost of PEEK. However, potential benefits from thermoplastic composites like recyclability and reusability as well as the high production rates that they offer and not taken into account in this study could improve their environmental and financial viability. This underlines the need to include potential reusing and recycling applications of the composites, as well as circular economy considerations to the criteria for designing an aircraft structure, selecting the material for this structure and finally manufacturing the structure.

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