As a critical raw material in cutting-edge polyimide synthesis, the fluorinated dianhydride 6FDA* plays a small but important role in the military aerospace industry. While current supply chains link 6FDA to traditional and emerging Asian producers, there is also understandable pressure to ensure that U.S. military procurement options remain as domestic as possible. This has become increasingly important given the logistical challenges and product shortages of the current climate.

The recent 6FDA product launch from CABB’s Jayhawk site located in Galena, KS, serves as a timely new alternative.

6FDA: Continued Innovation in Dianhydride Technology

Many components on modern commercial and military aircraft are produced using advanced technology in material science and process engineering. While metals remain important, the superior strength-to-weight advantage of carbon-fiber composites makes them the preferred choice for aircraft airframes, engines, and related parts. High stiffness, light weight, effective thermo-oxidative stability, and heat resistance beyond 300°C are delivered by the combination of carbon fiber and matrix resins specified by design teams throughout the industry. These resins often rely on dianhydrides as co-monomers for the synthesis of polyimides with different property profiles matched to the requirements of the part in service. BTDA, BPDA, OPDA and 6FDA are typical dianhydrides used in these resins.

Early innovations by NASA and the U.S. Air Force resulted in some of the most high-performance and durable matrix resin chemistries including polyimides, bismaleimides and epoxies. Many novel polyimides were developed, and familiar names including PMR-15, LARC-RP46, PETI-330 and AFR-PE-4 represented the resins licensed to an array of specialty chemical manufacturers from the 1970s to today. 6FDA, one of the newest dianhydrides to be used in aerospace applications, offers additional advantages for colorless polyimide production for electronic components.

CABB’s Jayhawk site has a long history of dianhydride manufacturing

CABB offers dianhydrides from its Jayhawk site in Galena, Kansas, where manufacturing of BTDA began in the 1970s. Its newest product, 6FDA, delivers an innovative alternative for the aerospace industry.

“The 6FDA project was born from extensive customer insights” says Borys Schafran VP Sales & Marketing at Jayhawk. “Collaboration and partnership are the keys to delivering sourcing solutions for our customers.” Having started well before the supply issues caused by the global pandemic, this project gained relevancy as the current political and economic climate ensued.

Biden’s “Made in America” executive order highlights the importance of a U.S. 6FDA supplier

On January 25st, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the “Executive Order on Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers.” While few things are bipartisan, ensuring that the government spends taxpayer dollars on “American goods, made by American workers, and with American-made components” is popular across party lines. Biden’s initiative serves to enhance job growth and bring greater stability to the pipeline of goods and services currently under short supply.

While the direct effect of the executive order on the sourcing of 6FDA and other dianhydrides remains to be seen, it has amplified the importance of supply chain security.

6FDA offers a strong solution to global supply chain challenges for the dianhydrides market

2021 has been marred by pandemic-induced delays, container shortages, and skyrocketing pricing. These issues have led to material shortages up and down the supply chain in almost every industry. The aerospace industry is no exception. 6FDA made in the U.S. offers a more secure option to sourcing professionals and a brighter outlook for years to come.

Read More: Why Dianhydrides?

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* 6FDA: fluorinated dianhydride = 4,4′-(Hexafluoroisopropylidene) diphthalic Anhydride

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