Why Do We Need Composite Materials?

The global composite market is estimated to grow to $131 billion by 2024. That’s because they are enhancing the design process and end products in several industries, especially the highly complex aerospace technology. Advanced composites are slowly replacing traditional materials, such as aluminum and steel, in the aerospace industry. Let’s find out how they are better.

Composites Have a Higher Strength-To-Weight Ratio

The strength-to-weight ratio of composites is higher than traditional materials. This ratio is used to compare the strength of a material with its weight. You can calculate the specific strength-to-weight ratio by dividing the density by the ultimate strength of the material.

Combining specific reinforcements and resins can help produce a composite material to fulfill strength demands for various applications. For instance, metals are strong in multiple directions. Change the resin/reinforcement ratio to engineer the composite to increase strength for the desired direction. Experienced engineers in the automotive industry utilize composites to reduce vehicle weight by 60% while improving crash safety at the same time.

Composites Are Durable

Unlike traditional materials, rust or corrosion is never an issue with composites, irrespective of the environment (unless you bond them with metal parts). You can tailor composites to stand up to fuels, alkalis, acids, hydraulic and brake fluids, lubricants, paint strippers, and other chemicals. Their fracture toughness is lower than metals but more than polymers. 

The corrosion resistance of composites is one reason why they are widely used in chemical manufacturing plants. And that’s also why the aerospace industry likes to use them since the aircraft operates in corrosive environments.

Due to high dimensional sturdiness, you can modify their shape whether they are wet, dry, hot, or cold. That’s why they are commonly used in outdoor structures, such as wind turbine blades. Hence, another reason why engineers are opting for composites is the durability they bring to the table.

Composites Reduce Maintenance

Durability and corrosion resistance indicate that advanced composites reduce maintenance. Take the aerospace industry as an example. The industry heavily relies on composites because it helps them to minimize maintenance costs.

For instance, the Boeing 777 has its tail made from composites – this allows it to have a 25% larger size than 767’s aluminum tail. Still, Boeing hasdisclosed that 777 require 35% less scheduled maintenance labor hours.

Composites Production Has Become Easier

A while back, engineers were required to work with a complex process to fabricate composites, which took a great deal of time and limited the design geometry. Modern technologies, such as digital composite manufacturing, have changed the game. It has enabled the fabrication of composite parts without manual labor. That’s another reason why the aerospace industry favors composites.

Do you need help with using composites for your aerospace manufacturing? Reach out to Pacific Aerospace Corp (PAC) today.