SABIC features space-age material technologies that meet aircraft weight-out, safety and eco challenges at Aircraft Interiors Expo 2011

Aircraft Interiors

Seattle, Washington/ USA

Here at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, Booth 314, SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business is exhibiting high-performance thermoplastic solutions that are helping aviation customers reduce weight and costs, enhance safety and sustainability, and optimize the flying experience. The company’s extensive portfolio of resin, sheet, foam and composite technologies are playing a key role in conserving fuel and lowering emissions; meeting increasingly stringent flame-smoke-toxicity (FST) regulations; and enhancing the comfort and aesthetics of the cabin environment. SABIC’s leadership in the development of ever-higher-performance plastics, together with its unmatched expertise and global resources, are enabling aircraft OEMs to meet current and future challenges.

SABIC is displaying a diverse number of game-changing interior aircraft applications at its booth including:

  • Crystal Cabin’s award-winning ultra-light in-flight trolley from LSG Sky Chef and Norduyn featuring ultraviolet (UV)-resistant Ultem™ resin for the extrusion profiles and door latch, and tough Noryl™ resin for the frame and other components;
  • A passenger service unit engineered and supplied by PECO Manufacturing for the new Boeing 737 BSI using Lexan™ FST and Ultem resins;
  • New seat cladding, window pane and trim parts from C&D Zodiac Aerospace using Lexan XHR sheet;
  • Crane Thermoplastic Composite Aerospace Boards (CAB) molded from Ultem resin and used for sidewalls, cockpit panels, ceiling panels, door liners and dividers;
  • Seat-padding, cushion and fire-blocker products from National NonWovens, using Ultem resin; and
  • Tray table arms that demonstrate successful replacement of aluminum with LNP Thermocomp™ specialty compound.


“The dynamic nature of the aviation industry demands flexible high-end solutions that can address multiple challenges, including the ever-present need to control costs,” said Jack Govers, general manager, Specialty Film & Sheet, Innovative Plastics. “Our continued investment in innovative material technologies, together with our commitment to closely collaborate with aerospace customers, underscores SABIC’s leadership in developing space-age thermoplastic materials for next generation aircraft.”


Putting Aircraft Interiors on a Weight-loss Regimen

On average, an aircraft will burn about 0.03 kg (.06 lbs) of fuel per hour for each kilogram (2.2 lbs) carried on board. Given that the total commercial fleet flies approximately 57 million hours per year, cutting one kilogram per flight would save roughly 1,700 tons of fuel and 5,400 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year1.
SABIC’s high-performance, lightweight materials for aircraft interiors can make a significant contribution to fuel economy and emissions reduction. For example, using Lexan F6000 polycarbonate (PC) sheet to replace traditional polyvinyl chloride (PVC)/acrylic products on seating frames, an airline could reduce weight by approximately 23 percent, which is 80 kg (176 lbs) based on a plane with 190 seats.

SABIC’s new 30 and 40 percent Thermocomp specialty compounds – Thermocomp EC006PXQ and EC008PXQ compounds – are both carbon-filled materials that are based on Ultem polyetherimide (PEI) resin technology. They provide exceptional stiffness and flow, which allows for the production of high-performance, thin-wall molded parts to replace airline grade die-cast aluminum in structural components, resulting in major weight savings and an increase in strength of up to 40 percent. The company recently completed a proof-of-concept study further validating the performance of these two specialty compounds in aircraft food tray arms and found that the materials – together with an optimized design – reduced part weight by up to 46 percent and cut costs by up to 77 percent vs. aluminum components. Other potential applications include structural supports, arm rests, foot rests, and galley applications such as coffee maker chassis.

Also capitalizing on SABIC’s PEI resin technology, Ultem foam is a rigid, open-cell core material that is 10 to 20 times lighter than traditional plastic components. It is an excellent choice as a core material for composite applications requiring noise abatement, low moisture absorption, high thermal properties and compatibility with thermoset and metal laminates.

Another high-tech SABIC product – Lexan XHR (extremely low heat release) 6000 sheet –provides superior weight-out of up to 12 percent vs. traditional PVC/polymethyl-methacrylate (PMMA) products for better fuel economy. Geven S.p.A., a leading aircraft seating and interior solution provider, has chosen Lexan XHR sheet for their new aircraft seating for Carribean Airlines’ “Armonia” interiors, designed by Giugiaro. The challenging goal of limiting the seat weight to a maximum of 9 kg (19.8 lbs) pressed Geven to select the high-performance SABIC material.


Delivering Top-flight Compliance, Aesthetics and Durability

In addition to superior performance vs. competitive materials, SABIC’s high-end thermoplastic products provide a host of other benefits for global aircraft designers ranging from long, useful life to regulatory compliance. Using these materials can help OEMs provide maximum comfort and appeal for passengers while ensuring a high level of safety and controlling costs.

Transparent Lexan F2000A sheet offers excellent FST performance and impact strength, and complies with FAR 25.853 and ABD0031 requirements at 2 mm and 3 mm, respectively. It is an ideal candidate for windows, light diffusers and signs where clarity is requested. Lexan F2000A sheet provides environmentally responsible flame retardance according to DIN/VDE 0472 part 815.

Extem™ UP thermoplastic polyimide (TPI) resins are flame-retardant, extreme high-heat materials that meet UL 746B requirements at a relative thermal index (RTI) of 240 C, indicating retention of certain mechanical and electrical properties at this temperature over a 10-year period. Extem UP resins also offer up to five times greater flex strength and up to five times higher stiffness than unfilled polyetheretherketone (PEEK) at 200 C. They provide a coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of up to 30 percent lower than unfilled PEEK.

Ultem Composite Aerospace Board (CAB) sheets, co-developed and manufactured with Crane & Co., provide a superior alternative to thermoset aramid fiber-reinforced honeycomb composites. The Ultem CAB sheets can be quickly thermoformed, offer a broad range of high-performance properties, are recyclable and offer great potential to be refurbished with a newly developed decorative film layer to extend useful life while still meeting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements.

Building upon Ultem resin’s proven capabilities for aircraft interiors, carbon-fiber-filled Ultem resin complies with FAR 25.853 and the smoke density and heat release requirements of the Ohio State University (OSU) standard 65/65.

Ultem foam can be used as part of a composite system with a decorative film or surface layer such as phenolic prepreg or metal. Potential applications for transportation include flooring, sidewalls and ceiling panels. Processes such as machining, vacuum bagging, compression molding and thermoforming can be utilized with Ultem foam for potential system cost savings.

For additional information on SABIC’s products for aircraft interiors, please go For technical product inquiries, please contact us at


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About Saudi Basic Industries Corporation

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) ranks among the world’s top petrochemical companies, and is a global market leader in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene, advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers. SABIC manufactures with a global footprint in Saudi Arabia, the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. The company operates in more than 40 countries across the world with 33,000 employees worldwide. It has significant research resources with 18 dedicated Technology & Innovation facilities in Saudi Arabia, the USA, the Netherlands, Spain, India and China. SABIC recorded a net income of SR 21.59 billion (US$ 5.73 billion) in 2010, and sales revenues totaled SR 152 billion (US$ 40.5 billion).


About Innovative Plastics

The Innovative Plastics strategic business unit of SABIC is a leading, global supplier of engineering thermoplastics with an 80-year history of breakthrough solutions that solve its customers’ most pressing challenges. Today, Innovative Plastics is a multi-billion-dollar company with operations in more than 35 countries and approximately 9,000 employees worldwide. The company continues to lead the plastics industry with customer collaboration and continued investments in new polymer technologies, global application development, process technologies, and environmentally responsible solutions that serve diverse markets such as automotive, electronics, building & construction, transportation, and healthcare. The company’s extensive product portfolio includes thermoplastic resins, coatings, specialty compounds, film, and sheet. Innovative Plastics ( is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).


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™ Trademarks of SABIC Innovative Plastics IP B.V.
1 has been established by the commercial aviation industry body, the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). ATAG is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and is the only global association that represents all sectors of the air transport industry. Its mission is to promote aviation’s sustainable growth for the benefit of global society.





Innovative Plastics Media Contacts
Specialty Film & Sheet
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Agency Media Contacts
The Americas
Jim Allison
AH&M Marketing Communications,
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Kevin Noels
Marketing Solutions, Bergen op Zoom,
The Netherlands
Tel:  +31 164 317 011

Vivien Gong
Edelman, Shanghai, China
Tel:  +86 21 6193 7524

Mitsu Sugino
Tokyo PR Inc., Tokyo, Japan
Tel:  +81 3 3273 2731


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