Bees are accomplished mathematicians and architects. The hexagonal honeycomb structure they have chosen to build for the storage of honey in their hives allows them to store the greatest amount of honey with the least amount of wax required to create the comb. It is an extremely efficient design.
Flexible Fusion-Bonded Honeycomb
Stimulite® flexible honeycomb is an engineered product derived from a proprietary process called fusion bonding. This industry-proven technology for seat cushions and sleep surfaces combines unparalleled long term sitting comfort in a durable, lightweight and low profile, which increases cabin space. Additionally, Stimulite adds cross ventilation to enhance comfort for passengers plus washability and recyclability to boost value for airlines.
The physical configuration of the technology is a derivative of the composite honeycomb structures commonly found in the aerospace industry which exhibit high structural integrity and optimum strength-to-weight advantages. However, unlike rigid aerospace honeycomb, Stimulite® honeycomb is produced from highly durable thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) and is not bonded with adhesives. Instead, a proprietary, fusion-bonding technique is used to produce the honeycomb in a variety of configurations. Because it is fabricated from thermoplastics and manufactured without adhesives, Stimulite is the only anisotropic-type honeycomb to have "memory," the ability to repeatedly return to its original shape. This honeycomb technology is setting new standards for long term sitting and sleeping comfort in the aerospace industry.
The extensive range of TPUs used in the fabrication of Stimulite is produced by BASF, a partner of Supracor® under the trade name Elastollan®. These materials combine the best properties of rubber and plastics for superior durability and performance. They are noted for their exceptional tensile, tear and compressive strength, puncture resistance and flexibility at extreme temperatures. The physical properties of the TPU material allow Stimulite to achieve ultra-low compression set characteristics when compared to traditional seating materials.
Dynamic Mechanical Properties
The sophisticated architecture of radiated double- and single-walled cells is what makes Supracor’s fusion-bonded honeycomb anisotropic—having three different degrees of resistance or flexibility in the length (“L” direction), width (“W” direction) and vertically against the surface (“T” direction). This enables it to absorb energy or impact from different angles and to perfectly contour to the anatomy.
Optimum Strength-to-Weight:The alternating thick- and thin-cellular walls make Supracor’s fusion-bonded honeycomb both strong and lightweight. Its cellular matrix is over 90% open space.
The widespread use of aerospace honeycomb in structures of commercial and military jet aircraft attests to its excellent shock-absorbing capabilities. Energy from impact is absorbed and dispersed evenly throughout the honeycomb matrix. Because the cells are interconnected, when one cell buckles from impact the walls of the adjacent cells also buckle to absorb the force, similar to a ripple effect. Supracor’s fusion-bonded honeycomb absorbs shock in the same manner, but has increased load-bearing capability as a result of its elastomeric composition.
Stimulite® honeycomb's mechanical properties are controlled by:
- Physical properties of the raw material
- Cell diameter
- Wall gauge (thickness of the cell wall)
- Core thickness
- Facings applied to the core