Todd Johnson did a good job of explaining the use of composites in his article “Composites in Aerospace.” (ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/composites-in-aerospace-820418.) Rather than reinvent the wheel, lets just review some of what he reported in his article.
When it comes to designing aircraft, maximizing the “lift to weight ratio” is very important. So, engineers continuously strive to increase lift, or decrease weight, or both. This article discusses how one might decrease the weight of an aircraft.
The earliest aircraft contained a metal structure and many metal parts. This should not be surprising because metal was the strongest material known to engineers at that time. Composites, however, are a material which can often be used instead of metal. One of the many advantages of composites is that they are much lighter than metal. Since the late 1980s, the use of composites in aerospace has doubled every five years, so it is definitely a thriving technology. As if weight reduction would not be reason enough, there are even more advantages to using composites in aerospace engineering.
In addition to dramatically reducing the weight of the aircraft, use of composite materials in aerospace engineering has the following additional advantages:
- Easier to assemble complex components
- Higher strength at a reduced weight
- Mechanical properties can be tailored to specific requirements
- More thermally stable so expansion and contraction not an issue
- High Impact resistance and damage tolerance
- Elimination of electrical corrosion problems
Whether it’s commercial airline industries trying to reduce operating costs, or the military trying to increase payload, range, and survivability of their weapons, composites are the key to accomplishing the goal.
If you want to learn more about the subject, consider enrolling in the ATI course Composite Materials for Aerospace. This three-day course is designed for mechanical or materials engineers and managers that are going to use composite materials, i.e., graphite/epoxy, etc., in aerospace and military applications. To learn more about this course, and to register to attend, you can go here.
As always, a full listing of ATI courses and a schedule of upcoming courses can be found at http://www.aticourses.com