Composite materials are being used more and more throughout various industries for a number of reasons. Aerospace, automotive, consumer products and building products manufacturers all benefit from using different composites to their advantage.
These composites are created by combining two or more materials with different physical or chemical properties to produce a new material. The end result is a composite, which has different characteristics from the multiple components that went into it. This is done to take the most useful qualities from materials while removing the weaknesses. Composites are often stronger, lighter or more cost effective than pure materials.
Boeing is one specific aircraft manufacturer that is taking advantage of these combined materials. The company’s Boeing 787 model is composed of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and other composites. Some of Boeing’s incentives for using these materials are a 20 percent decrease in weight compared to older models and maintenance reduction.
Carbon-fiber is a key component in aerospace manufacturing, but it is far from a new material. This composite was developed over 50 years ago and has been used in aerospace application heavily since the 1980’s. Boeing’s 787 model is a step forward with this technology because half of the aircraft is made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic and other composite materials.
While the composite material industry is valuable to aerospace; the aerospace industry is a crucial element to composites. Composite World went as far as calling aerospace, “one of the largest and arguably the most important [market] to the composites industry.” By using composites that are lighter, stronger and less expensive than alternative materials, manufacturers in the aerospace, automotive, consumer products and building products industries can make products that are more cost effective and efficient.