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Composites Emerge as Popular Choice for Designing Aircraft

06 May 2005

A new report by Frost and Sullivan reflects on the growing sophistication of aircraft which is compelling researchers to innovate novel materials that reduce the weight, maximise fuel efficiency and maintain the aerodynamic balance for the aircraft.

""Composites are the answer for stronger aircraft materials because they are lightweight, flexible and resistant to high temperatures, all key characteristics aircraft design engineers look for while selecting materials,"" observes Frost and Sullivan Research Analyst Vijay Shankar Murthy.

The new report points out that once composites offer a more favourable cost-to-benefit ratio, they are likely to emerge as strong candidates for retrofitting heavier aluminium or steel structural components in existing civilian and military aircraft.

Researchers are also focusing on incorporating carbon nanotubes to make stronger and stiffer composites. While this technology is yet to leave the laboratories, carbon nanotubes could find their way into an A380 or a Boeing 747 by 2020, according to the report.

The report, Global Advances in Aerospace Technologies examines new research that is taking place in different parts of the world where new materials and processes are being developed to maximise weight reduction yet retain or improve strength in composite materials comparable to traditional metals.

The report uses many examples, but one such example is university researchers in the United Kingdom who are attempting to address the issues surrounding drag, cost and accuracy with laser air speed sensor instrument (LASSI) that replaces the pilot tubes and works efficiently in any velocity range.

The report also focuses on other important issues such as working towards reducing noise and pollution from aircraft engines, especially after the signing of the Kyoto Protocol.

""While the trend in the aerospace industry seems to be to move to greener blends of aviation fuel, the aircraft engine itself must be kept in mind while attempting to reduce green-house gas emissions,"" points out Murthy.

Global Advances in Aerospace Technologies evaluates the latest and upcoming trends in aerospace technologies. In addition to discussing the various technology drivers and restraints, the study covers research and development efforts at various universities, leading companies and other research institutions across the globe.





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