The Expanding Use of Composites and Carbon Fiber in The Aerospace Industry
The aerospace industry has been a leader in the development and use of composite materials. The benefits of shedding weight are obvious in this case.
By incorporating composites into their aircraft, large companies like Boeing were able to exceed the airlines’ requirements for reduced fuel consumption and emissions. There is now data to show that the longevity of composite parts has had a positive impact on the cost of maintenance and replacement parts. “In the 565 aircraft, not one composite floor beam has been replaced in more than 10 years of commercial flight service. The Boeing 777 composite tail is 25% larger than the Boeing 767 aluminum tail, and yet the maintenance logs show a savings of more than one-third in labor hours.”
The continued expansion of carbon fiber and composites in large aircraft has created increased demand and continued improvement of materials. These innovations are carrying over into smaller aircraft.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Drones and other Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) commonly use carbon fiber components for a much higher percentage of the craft (approaching 100% in some cases). These vehicles have been used extensively by the military. However, their popularity for commercial and personal use is expanding the market substantially.
Personal Aviation Industry
Planes of all sizes find benefit from the qualities of composite materials. However, the aerospace industry is looking toward the future. When you combine the technology that has been developed for UAVs with he advancements in both airplanes and motorsports vehicles, you get the personal aviation industry.
Personal flight may seem like a dream, but it has started to make appearances. Prototype Composites is excited to be part of this emerging industry through a partnership with our client, ElectraFly, an innovative company developing technologies in the personal aviation industry.
Their light-weight personal flight vehicle made with carbon fiber components was highlighted at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture show in 2019.
Carbon Fiber and composite materials are playing a critical role in the development and expansion of the aerospace industry, from creating larger passenger planes to small vehicles, both manned and unmanned. It’s an exciting partnership with growth potential.