In coming years, many different composites will be introduced
in the aerospace industry, some of which are ceramic matrix composites (CMC), Spider
Silk Fibre and Hybrid composite steel sheets. As we can
see from the graph, the use of composites is gradually increasing as it is
replacing aluminium and other metals. However, it can still not entirely replace
the use of metals as they require further development to overcome the weakness
that are found currently to further improve the safety of the aircrafts.
Composites are superior
material to aluminium alloys and other metals due to their properties. Their
use is extensively increasing throughout the years as more airline companies
are starting to use them.
Recycling of composites is also an option
engineers have adopted. Most of the composite materials used are biodegradable
that is, they cannot be broken down easily. Recycling of composite materials is
an expensive and complex process because the material needs to be examined and
separated from the damaged composite materials. However this method is cost
effective in comparison to manufacturing new composite materials.
With the changing environment of the earth,
every industry is working to come up with products that will help in reducing
the effect of global warming. The aerospace industry has a 1.6% contribution to
the green house emission. The CO2 emission from an aircraft depends on its
overall weight. The weight of aircraft with components made of composite
materials is reduced by a 20% and therefore CO2 emission is also reduced
significantly. Examples of aircrafts using composite materials are 787 Boeing
Dreamliner and the Airbus 340.
The use of additive manufacturing has
started to be in trend in several airlines. The Airbus A380 has been equipped with
3D printed components in the engine.
Boeing has several hundred types
and tens of thousands of 3D-printed parts flying on its aircraft. These include 3D-printed parts on 10
different military and commercial aircraft production programmes, according to
Leo Christodoulou, chief engineer for Boeing research and technology, materials
and manufacturing technology.
are also working on methods to reduce the cost of the manufacturing process.
One of these methods is additive
manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is the name given to the process of
designing 3D shape of the material on a screen using computer aided design or
CAD software. The design is then uploaded unto an additive manufacturing
machine that uses layering and melting to produce the part. Additive
manufacture allows us to produce parts that are stronger, lighter and more
durable than traditionally made parts with a faster building time as engineers
can add features, required properties and complex geometry to the part using software
without increasing cost.
choice of engineers depends on all these factors as well as the cost
effectiveness. However the manufacturing process of composite materials
requires a lot of highly skilled labour and maintenance which leads to a high
manufacturing cost. This is overcome by the long term benefits that are
provided by using composite materials, as they have a longer lifespan and they
are more resistant to the extreme conditions that they are put into during the
By comparison, modern aircraft brakes are
more suitable than those previously used. This is due to the specific
requirements that the aircrafts today have such as, high heat resistance for
minimal expansion, have a long lifespan, have a light weight and be resistant
to corrosion and wear.
covered and slight pressure is added to
lightly compact the content. Then the mould enters a larger press where 20000
kg of pressure with a heat of 200 degree Celsius is applied. This strengthens
the fibres and forms the resin into plastic. After cooling down, the disk is
placed in cold water for 10 minutes, to remove the aluminium cores. To further strengthen the ring, it is placed
in an oven for over 2 days, where it is heated at a temperature of 1000 degree
Celsius. This allows a chemical change to transform the plastic into carbon. Next,
silicon is filled into the ring using a crucible (a highly heat resistant
container) and heated under a temperature of 1700 degree Celsius. This also
mixes the silicon with the disc using a low level suction method, forming a
harder material, silicon carbide. Lastly, the disc is treated with
anti-oxidation paint to protect it from reacting with oxygen under high