Published By: SME
Pages in Print Edition:
This chapter examines the following concepts: introduction, traditional composites markets, learning lessons — space structures, the ultimate composite structure, critical market — armor, breakthrough markets — commercial and corporate airplanes, and future-today markets — unmanned vehicles. The traditional composite uses will be presented by markets in the order of the size of the market. Some specific composite products will be discussed. The lessons learned about composite materials, manufacturing processes, and the entire process of making, transporting, and using composite materials are shared. Other discussions will look at products that might be reasonably made internationally, including comparisons of the types of manufacturing that might be done. Some breakthroughs in composites that have the potential to increase their use far beyond the current levels and even beyond what can be reasonably imagined will be discussed. The textbook answer for why composites are used is lighter weight, greater stiffness, and higher strength. The breadth of composites part usage is immense. These products are used in markets as diverse as: automobiles, buses, and trucks; various construction products such as panels and wrappings for concrete bridge pillars; pipes and tanks that defy corrosion; electrical circuit boards; golf clubs and racquets of many types; housings for appliances; medical devices like artificial limbs; and, of course, a multitude of aerospace products.