How Composites Are Used In Aerospace Applications

Weight is everything when it comes to heavier-than-air machines, and designers have striven continuously to improve lift to weight ratios since man first took to the air. Composite materials have played a major part in weight reduction, and today there are three main types in use: carbon fiber-, glass- and aramid- reinforced epoxy.; there are others, such as boron-reinforced (itself a composite formed on a tungsten core).

Since 1987, the use of composites in aerospace has doubled every five years, and new composites regularly appear.

Where Composites are Used

Composites are versatile, used for both structural applications and components, in all aircraft and spacecraft, from hot air balloon gondolas and gliders, to passenger airliners, fighter planes and the Space Shuttle. Applications range from complete airplanes such as the Beech Starship, to wing assemblies, helicopter rotor blades, propellers, seats and instrument enclosures.

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