Innovative Uses of Composites in Aerospace Drones: Facebook’s Aquila Drone

Drones have become common in military and even entertainment and leisure applications in the United States in the past few years. In fact, a small, camera-equipped recreational drone can be had starting at just $45 today. 

However, thanks to advanced composite materials the next generation of industrial drones are being designed to take on missions that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, and an excellent example is the recently canceled Facebook Aquila drone.

Composite Drone Sought to Bring the Internet to the World

Advanced composites have a large number of advantages in drone construction. These benefits include light material weights, impressive strength-to-weight ratios and the ability to be molded into complex shapes and reduce the number of parts that must be manufactured for a drone.

Facebook’s Aquila drone was an excellent example of how drones are being designed that push the boundaries of the uses of composite materials and drones themselves in industrial applications.

The mission of this drone was extremely ambitious. In fact, it was conceived as a way to bring reliable internet service to hard-to-reach corners of the world.

 To accomplish this mission, the Aquila drone sought to leverage the benefits of composites to:

  • Create a drone structure more than 110ft in wingspan
  • Build a drone weighing less than 1000lb 
  • Operate for months at an altitude of 60 to 90,000 feet

The first two of these objectives were accomplished by the Aquila drone development team at Facebook. However, in June of this year, Facebook announced that they would no longer be producing future versions of the drone in-house and would instead be working with outside drone manufacturers to continue to develop this project. 

In spite of the unfinished nature of the Aquila project, it’s clear that composite drones are poised to make their way into an ever-increasing number of industrial applications thanks in large part to the benefits they gain from composite materials.

Composites One is the Number One Supplier of Composite Materials in the U. S. and Canada

If your company is looking for a place to get a variety of high-quality composite materials, then Composites One is just the company you’ve been searching for.

As the largest composite material supplier in North America, our team can assist you with your composite supply needs thanks to the more than 2,000 products we stock from more than 600 suppliers. These products include materials such as carbon fiber, epoxy resins, polyester resins, and vinyl ester resins. Even better, we have 41 locations across the United States and Canada, so you’re sure to find one close to you. 

For additional information about the products and services we can offer your company, contact the helpful team at Composites One today.