Why Are Composites Better Than The Use Of Traditional Materials?

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Introduction Since the 1970’s, composite materials have been used in aviation in the form of composite aircraft, and the use of composites has only been expanding. Boeing aircraft from the past, like the 747 circa 1968, were generally made up of only 1% of composite material, whereas relatively newer aircraft, like the 777, which began its service life in 1995, jumped to 11% composites. By 2011, and the introduction of the 787 Dreamliner, the percentage of composites had risen to an astounding 50%...with the fuselage constructed completely of composites, as well as portions of the horizontal stabilizers, vertical stabilizers, and wings. In doing so, it was Boeing’s intention to enhance safety standards while lowering costs in both…show more content…
(Mrazova, 2013) In the aviation industry today, composites have replaced previously used materials such as titanium and aluminum in the manufacturing of wings, skins, primary load-bearing structures, and fuselages. However, composites are not wonder materials, in the aviation world, and do have their own disadvantages. Internal damage to composite materials, from a low speed impact, though it shows no external or surface evidence, could result in delamination between the internal layers, or plies of composite material. It is in these circumstances that structural engineers have concerns regarding complex repairs structural tolerances. Because of the threat of delamination, engineers who design composite structures take special care to make certain that loads placed on the composites are primarily in plane -- where the fibers are strong -- and that buckling does not occur. Compounding the difficulties confronting engineers, composites cannot be inspected for weakness or internal damage in the same way that metals can. Delamination and cracks in the composite matrix are usually internal to the composite and will not be visible from the surface. Techniques are available to find such faults -- such as the embedded sensors previously mentioned -- but they require a different methodology than that to which the

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