Composite Material Essay

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1. Introduction

The traditional material for aircrafts is aluminium while composite material content has always been less than 20% until the recent years. The latest aircraft models by Airbus and Boeing have composites content of 50% or more. (Mauricuien, n.d.) It has brought about many benefits to the industry but also causes difficulties in maintenance and safety issues. The drive of the material evolution is due the economic factors and higher expectation of society as technology advances. The report includes how the advantages of the composite material make it attractive by helping to solve the issues faced by the industry.

2. Composite Materials

Composite materials are made of at least two materials. They are mixed together to achieve specific structural properties. The individual material does not merge or dissolve completely but act as one. (FAA, n.d.)The early aircrafts used composite material such as fibreglass while the latest aircrafts uses carbon fibre reinforced plastic.

2.1 Advantages

Light Weight
Composite materials are able to provide better strength to weight ratio as compared to the traditional materials such as aluminium. (Ingenia, n.d.) Therefore, it means that composite materials will be able to handle the same amount or more load with lesser weight than metals. The weight of the Boeing 787 and the Airbus 350 which are made of 50% or more composite materials has been reduced by 20%. With the weight reduction, the Boeing 787 and the Airbus 350 respectively will be able to achieve a 20% and 25% improvement in fuel consumption. (Mauricuien, n.d.) These lighter weight and fuel saving aircrafts have also benefited the industry as there has been a change of attitude towards environmental issues. The aviation i...

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...s and companies have been providing training for the maintenance crew so that they are equipped with the necessary skills.

5. Conclusion

Even though introducing composites into aircrafts made the industry face several challenges, the advantages it brought into the industry outweigh the limitations. Innovation can never be perfect on the first try. Thus, it takes time to improve the implementation. While the introduction of composites brought about criticism and doubts, it will definitely become the second aluminium after many years of in-servicing and improvements. Maintenance crews have to constantly update themselves with the latest skills and knowledge to increase the reliability of composite aircraft. When composites become more reliable, the benefits it brought can be further enhanced. Fuel consumption can be even lower and maintenance can be made easier.

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