Back in the Air with Safety
An innovative use of Kevlar is one of the high tech safety solutions that has been instrumental in putting Concorde back into commercial service.
The reinforcement of the fuel tanks has been one of the most significant modifications to Concorde. The upgrade involves the introduction of a new concept in liners, incorporating high strength Kevlar encapsulated within a matrix of high durability fluoro-elastomeric.
More than 100 individually shaped sections of this composite material have been precisely engineered then fitted by hand into the fuel tanks within Concorde's delta wings.
Complimenting the enhanced impact protection delivered by Kevlar the fluoroelastomer element of the system offers vital fuel leakage containment and flow restriction. In the unlikely event that the liner were to be breached, the liner system significantly stems fuel leakage; down from 100 litres per second from a 30 sq.cm hole to just 1 litre per second. The result is that leakage is contained to a level where ignition would be virtually impossible. The entire set of these liners adds less than 400kg to the aircraft's overall weight. Further weight-saving improvements to the tyres plus interior refurbishment to Concorde mean that the relaunched aircraft is likely to weigh even less than its previous generation.
This article is published on NT New Textiles, see the contents.