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Use of Composites in Aviation - Research Paper Example

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Use of Composites in Aviation

Use of Composites in Aviation

The use of composites then has increased both in the military, where the objective is to increase payload and flight performance survivability, and in commercial aircraft looking aiming to reduce operation costs. With composites, technology is advancing day by day and competition gaining more ground, it is important to explore the use of composites in the aircraft especially to understand the challenges in the aspect and reflect on its future. This paper looks at how the use of composites has shaped the aviation industry in the past, what improvements being made at present as well as the future of composites in the aerospace industry. The past use of composites materials The evolution of composites materials in aircraft has been driven by economics, logistics, and expectation of the society (Smith 4). This is facilitated by development in materials, design tools, and processing methods. The primary drive for composite materials in the aerospace industry has been reduction in fuel consumption. The reduction of fuel consumption is both related to the economy where airlines look for a solution driven by increase in fuel prices and maintaining a competitive edge in the market as well as a reduction of pollutant emission. King, Inderwildi and Carey links the use joining the EU emission trading scheme put pressure on the industry to reduce environmental impact. (22). In addition to weight reduction composites have also been sought by aircrafts manufacturers to

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reduce parasitic drag, reduce corrosion, and increase damage performance (Yancey). The common materials being used for composites include carbon, fiberglass, and boron. The use of composites materials on aircraft was in use as early as in 1957 Boeing 707, which utilized approximately 20m2 polymeric composites mainly tertiary roles, like cabin structures (King, Inderwildi, and Carey 22). The largest increase in the application of composite has been achieved from the period starting 2005 onwards. Today approximately 50% of all Boeing and Airbus aircraft utilizes composites materials as compared to the 12% composites on Boeing in 2005 (Smith 11). Composites material application ranges from all-composite airplanes such as the Beech Starships to helicopter rotor blades, wing assemblies, seats, propellers, and instrument enclosures (‘Aerospace Composites’ 58.) The use of composites materials has been reported to reduce Airbus aircrafts weights by approximately 20% (‘innovative materials’). Composite material used further improves airplanes durability, are more reliable and reduces inspection needs during flights (‘Innovative materials’). For these reason airplanes, manufacturers are looking forward to fully leverage the benefits of innovative materials by more application of composites. A380 for instance has only 61% aluminum and uses 20 different alloys and tempers as compared to the earlier A320/330 aircraft that used only 6 composite alloys. The Boeing airplanes manufacturers have taken the lead in utilization of composites materials. The Boeing 787 for instance makes greater application of composite materials than any other previous airplane. The Boeing's 787 Dreamliner had made it be one of the most fuel-efficient airlines by improving using lightweight composite materials. The application of composites materials in Boeing 787 is illustrated below. Fig. 1. Composite Material Application in Boeing 787 Source:

Summary

The increase of competition rise in fuel costs and environmental lobbying form 1970s onwards has infringed pressure on commercial flying to improve performance. To this end, weight reduction has been the main area of focus. …
Author : jeddurgan
Use of Composites in Aviation essay example
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