NASA developed composites are making their way to commercial use, as Boeing will employ up to 90% of the material in manufacture and assembly of its next generation aircraft.
The material developed is 30 years on from the composite materials used in the construction of the Boeing 777 for example.
Use of the next generation material removes the need for thousands of fasteners traditionally used in aircraft construction by instead stitching the dry carbon structures together. The dry structures are placed into a heated tool, a vacuum is pulled and epoxy resin is infused into the structure. The benefits of such an approach provides a combined benefit in reducing weight, assembly costs and increasing overall structural strength.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner Composites
Over half the structure of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is manufactured using carbon composite materials; a large increase of the use of the material over previous designs incorporating the materials use. This approach has eliminated the use of 1,500 sheets of aluminium and circa 40,000 – 50,000 fasteners.
However deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner are running more than three years late due to a number of issues surrounding the fasteners and attachment points used in the composite structure.
To date Boeing has not launched any details regarding the potential use of the next generation carbon composite materials technology in assembly of commercial aircraft. Reports suggest Boeing could use the technology in a next generation ‘flying wing’ aircraft designed for reduced noise and pollution.
VIP Completions customers will naturally be interested by such future technological advancements…