The aerospace and defence industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the pressing need for modernisation and the growing importance of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and unmanned systems. In the last three years alone, there have been over 174,000 patents filed and granted in the aerospace and defence industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Advanced Materials in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Foamed multilayer laminates.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 262,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the aerospace and defence industry, there are 180+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Foamed multilayer laminates is a key innovation area in advanced materials

Foamed multilayer laminates are materials which can be laid in layers, and bring a number of aerodynamic benefits.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defence companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of foamed multilayer laminates.

Key players in foamed multilayer laminates – a disruptive innovation in the aerospace and defence industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Amongst aerospace and defence companies, Boeing is one of the leading patent filers in foamed multilayer laminates. Boeing is heavily involved in the production of aircraft, from military platforms such as the F-15 EX and CH-47 to commercial aircraft such as the 737MAX and 777X Dreamliner. In order to improve the structural integrity of airframes, Boeing has explored the use of foamed multilayer laminates. Other leading patent filers in foamed multilayer laminates among aerospace and defence companies include Airbus , Hutchinson , and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries .

In terms of application diversity, Patria holds the most widely applicable patents in foamed multilayer laminates. Textron and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries held the second and third positions, respectively. Regarding geographic reach, Gentex led the way, with Hutchinson and Patria following behind.

Foamed multilayer laminates are a useful material for aircraft, and their inclusion within airframes can increase the durability of the structure whilst adding little weight. For example, inclusion within wings has been shown to increase compressive strength and energy absorption.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Thematic Research: Advanced Materials in Aerospace and Defense.

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.