Saturday, January 3, 2015

Materials in Aerospace Engineering - 3

Composites in Civil Aircraft

Lear Fan 2100
As one of the first aircraft conceived and engineered as a “composites” craft, the Lear Fan uses approximately 1880 pounds of carbon, glass and aramid fiber material. In addition to composite elements that are common to other aircraft, such as doors, control surfaces, fairings and wing boxes, the Lear Fan has an all-composite body and propeller blades.

Beech Starship
The Starship is the first all-composite airplane to receive FAA certification. Approximately 3000 pounds of composites are used on each aircraft.

The Boeing 757 and 767 use about 3000 pounds each of composites for doors and control surfaces. The 767 rudder at 36 feet is the largest commercial component in service. The 737-300 uses approximately 1500 pounds of composites, which represents about 3% of the overall structural weight. Composites are widely used in aircraft interiors to create luggage compartments, sidewalls, floors, ceilings, galleys, cargo liners and bulkheads. Fiberglass with epoxy or phenolic resin utilizing honeycomb sandwich construction gives the designer freedom to create aesthetically pleasing structures while meeting flammability and impact resistance requirements.

In 1979, a pilot project was started to manufacture carbon fiber fin box assemblies for the A300/A310 aircraft. A highly mechanized production process was established to determine if high material cost could be offset by increased manufacturing efficiency. Although material costs were 35% greater than a comparable aluminium structure, total manufacturing costs were lowered 65 to 85%. Robotic assemblies were developed to handle and process materials in an optimal and repeatable fashion.


This topic will continue in Part - 4

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