It’s well known that aerospace applications of all types – whether for fuselage skin, structures, or systems and components – require materials offering a combination of lightweight strength and long-term durability. Since the Wright brothers, aircraft makers have been seeking solutions that optimize the balance between weight and strength.
An entrant that has found its way into the arena of light-yet-strong aerospace materials is para-aramid. Similar to material known under the brand name Kevlar®, man-made para-aramid fibers exhibit a high strength-to-weight ratio and can be formed into threads or yarns for use in any number of applications.
Para-aramid material for lightweight aircraft hose and assemblies
The Stratoflex Products Division (SPD) of Parker Aerospace has been providing fluid conveyance hose and tube assemblies to the aerospace industry since 1990 and has introduced countless innovative solutions to reduce weight and increase the reliability of aircraft fluid conveyance systems.
Among SPD’s innovations is its para-aramid reinforced hose, available as its 3154 and 3158 hoses. Stratoflex 3154/3158 hose is widely specified for aircraft applications, including:
- Landing gear hydraulic lines
- Aircraft tail section hydraulic systems
- Wing routing actuations
- Hydraulic power generation
- Mid- and aft-fuselage sections
- Thrust reverser actuation systems (TRAS)
The Stratoflex 3154 (3,000 to 4,000 psi) and 3158 (5,080 psi) line of hose is available in a range of working pressures and offers two key advantages over corrosion-resistant steel (CRES) wire-braided hoses: lighter weight and a minimum bend radius that is typically 50 percent smaller. These advantages make Stratoflex 3154/3158 easier to install and route in crowded aircraft equipment spaces while saving weight on the aircraft.
Built for the long haul
Parker’s lightweight, high-pressure hose features a pure polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) inner tube, surrounded by one or two (depending on working pressure needs) para-aramid braid reinforcement layers. A special vapor barrier that prevents moisture ingress encases the braided reinforcement layer, and an outer chafe-resistant cover made of a nylon/polyester material protects the hose from environmental abrasion.
Lightweight durability plus proven engineering expertise
Parker Stratoflex 3154/3158 products meet or exceed aerospace standards when specifying lightweight aircraft hose. What really sets the products apart is Parker’s fluid conveyance system engineers’ extensive experience – which include hoses, couplings, swivels, regulators, valves, and fuses – on over 250 aircraft and engine models. SPD engineers are well versed in the design, routing, and clamping needed for fluid conveyance products throughout modern aircraft design.
For example, Stratoflex hoses are ideally suited for use in aircraft landing gear applications. Despite using a chafe-resistant outer cover, it is critical that the flexible hose is routed and clamped in a way that limits the effects of wind buffeting during takeoff and landing. Correct integration of the fluid conveyance within the landing gear system ensures proper performance and maximum life expectancy.
With lightweight strength and durability as vital considerations for aerospace structures, systems, and components, the use of advanced materials is essential to every aircraft program. By integrating braided para-aramid reinforcement layers into its hose design, the Parker Aerospace Stratoflex Products Division is able to offer its customers a lightweight hydraulic hose that fits in tight spaces, in addition to system-level fluid conveyance expertise.
For additional information on Parker Aerospace systems and capabilities, please visit our website.
This post was contributed by Andrew Mau, chief engineer & advanced technologies manager, Parker Aerospace Stratoflex Products Division