How Much Weight do Composites Really Save?

Outside of aeronautics, composite materials are very fashionable, they represent everything high-tech, cutting edge and well engineered. There are carbon fibre golf clubs, bath tubs and suitcases. Within the aeronautics industry composites are also held in high regard; the path to weight savings, complex geometries and fewer parts. Yet it is also very hard to quantify exactly how beneficial composites are. They are very different to aluminium, and challenges such as impact resistance, expensive manufacturing processes and repairability lead to different design philosophies, which in turn make it difficult to compare composite and metal designs directly. The Boeing 787-9 and Continue Reading

Why Aren’t Planes Made from Steel?

Steel is a wonderful metal that has become ubiquitous in the modern world. Ships, trains and cars are made from steel, yet the vast majority of aircraft are built from aluminium, although carbon fibre is becoming more popular and wood was used extensively through to the end of the Second World War. Is there Anything Wrong with Aluminium? Although not inherently unsuitable for building aircraft, aluminium does have a long list of disadvantages as a building material compared to steel. It is: More expensive More susceptible to corrosion Difficult to weld More susceptible to fatigue Quicker to melt Not as strong Continue Reading