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Aerospace & Defense Seals and Clamping Bladders

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Inflatable Aerospace Clamping Bladders for Component Bonding

Aerospace clamping bladders contained in steel or aluminum channels are used to apply uniform clamping pressure along bond lines when bonding exterior metal or carbon filament skins to substrates or internal stiffeners. Typical applications for clamping bladders are in the manufacture of aircraft stabilizers and wing sections, rotary wing aircraft spars, and other airframe and missile sections. The simplicity of the air source and inflatable clamp system results in considerable time saving efficiencies, and the uniformity of the pressure affords more reliable and consistent bond lines when compared with traditional mechanical clamping systems. The typical inflatable profiles used in these aerospace application are either Type 1 or Type 7 designs.

Jet Engine Test Door Inflatable Seal 

To suppress noise effectively, jet engine test cell doors can be equipped with inflatable seals. They can either be mounted on the door for radial expansion outward against the opening to the cell, or mounted on the face of the cell for axial expansion against the back of the closed door. Not only do these seals dampen the noise, but they also control the pressure differential between the inside of the cell and the outside ambient conditions.

Vertical Assembly Building Double Bulb Compression Seal 

A large EPDM rubber, custom-designed double bulb extrusion is used to seal the edges of the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB) Doors at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  These hanger door seals allow for horizontal movement between the bulbs while the door is operational, and provides dual sealing surfaces to keep the weather out.

Wing Flap Compression Seal

The Wing Flap Compression Seal requires three unique materials that are compression molded into one complete gasket:

  • The fabric outer layer is used to reduces the part’s co-efficient of friction and to increase useful life. 
  • Silicone is used to handle temperature extremes
  • The rigid polyester base is used to prevent the seal from pulling out from its housing.

This seal is manufactured utilizing custom molds and long presses in order to meet the tight tolerances required for this application.

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