The still-under-wraps Dassault Falcon SMS (super-midsize) will feature an empennage made entirely of composite materials, sources have told AIN. Dassault has reportedly tapped Fokker to supply the complete empennage, using thermoplastic resin. AIN understands that these will be the largest thermoplastic composites parts yet used in civil aviation. These materials are said to be more expensive but easier to manufacture and more impact-tolerant than thermosets.
Manufacturers are relying more on composite materials for business aircraft construction thanks to a drop in manufacturing costs and better automation. Largely because of improved curing processes, OEMs are gradually eliminating expensive tooling and slashing the overall number of parts needed for a given aerostructure.
The future of composites may lie in carbon nanotubes. Nano composites have already found their way into cars and sports gear, and now specialists in this technology are looking for aerospace applications.