ERJ staff report (RD)
Hanover, Germany -- Workers at Conti's facility in BehÃ¤lterbau in Aachen are creating developed-to-order, handcrafted, special-purpose rubber fuel cells for use in aircraft and boats, a recent company statement said.
Specifically, the workers are making an â€œauxiliary fuel reservoirâ€ for the Airbus A319, which will hold large amounts of kerosene and the fuel cell itself must be â€œvirtually weightless,â€ Conti said.
The essence of each and every fuel cell is a developed-to-order material design employing nitrile-rubber-coated fabrics. â€œBy taking this approach, we are able to meet the various requirements in terms of safety, geometrical versatility, temperature-resistance and durability," explains Horst Gatzweiler, who heads ContiTech BehÃ¤lterbau in Aachen.
In order to accomadate the need for a safe lighweight construction for the A319, Conti used 0.7 mm rubber for the thin walls applied in several layers.
The fuel cell's ultimate purpose is to serve as an auxiliary reservoir, thereby extending the plane's range, the statement said, adding that the device is certified to EN 9100:2003, the aerospace quality management standard.
At the customer's request the ContiTech tanks can additionally be equipped with further fine features. They can, for example, be rendered crash-proof -- as documented in specified drop tests - or self-sealing. The crash-proof quality is documented in specified drop tests. â€œCustom fabrication is, essentially, what makes it possible to realise all the different functions,â€ the statement said.
Rubber plays a key role: The nitrile-rubber-coated fabrics are endowed with bonding agents and barrier layers that account for the tank's leakproof quality. They are likewise prepared using in-house formulas that ensure conformity with the distinct character of the material. Vulcanization more or less concludes the production process, the company said.
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Press release from ContiTech AG