Boeing Co. (IW500/9) reported it will be the first customer of a new joint venture formed by Mubadala Development Company and Solvay that will produce primary structure (“pre-preg”) composite materials to be used to form 777X empennage and floor beams, starting in 2021. The plant, to be built at Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates, will supply empennage and floor beam structural parts for the Boeing 777X.
The length and value of the supply contract with the new venture were not released.
Pre-preg materials are "pre-impregnated" composite fibers with a matrix material (e.g., epoxy), already present. The fibers typically are woven, as in a fabric, with the matrix used to bond them together and to other components during manufacture. The matrix is only partially cured, so composite structures built of pre-pregs usually require heat curing.
Boeing’s 777 was the first commercial airliner to incorporate composite designs for structurally significant composite parts. Composites account for 50% percent of structural weight of the more recent 787 Dreamliner, and the 777X will have the world's largest aircraft wings formed from composite.