Recyclable composites must still be reused
Fresh from the IACMI's recent Detroit conclave, CW editor-in-chief Jeff Sloan notes the attendees' admirable commitment to ensure that the carbon fiber composites we build today will be recyclable tomorrow, but asks who will be there, as those products reach end of life, to buy and reuse those reclaimed materials?

Composites: Perspectives and Provocations

Advanced composites — An idealized future
A CW columnist, a composites industry consultant and the chief commercialization officer for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (Knoxville, TN, US), Dale Brosius imagines an ideal future for our industry then challenges us to make it real.

Composites: Past, Present and Future

Polyurethanes: Collaboration and adaptation for optimal application
Guest columnist Kevin Meyer, associate scientist, Dow Polyurethanes, The Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, MI, US), asks, and suggests some answers to, the question, "Why have polyurethanes, given their performance advantages, not been adopted in place of other thermosetting resins in a host of applications?"

Composites: Design & Testing

CompoSIDE and Trace: Game-changer for development of composite parts
Structural design challenges (delamination, coupling and shape distortions, resin-driven failures, local stress concentration and the like) are inherent in laminate architecture. The author's contention is that a solution can be found in design simplification afforded by the work of Dr. Stephen Tsai in Trace-based analysis.

Inside Manufacturing

Fiber patch preforms help tailor kiteboard performance
Automated means for laying fiber only where needed offers new potential to fine-tune torsional stiffness and flexibility to board and rider styles.


Composite stars brighten the holidays
Light, durable design pleases eyes and budget.

Focus on Design

NASA/Boeing composite launch vehicle fuel tank scores firsts
Subscale 5.5m-diameter cryogenic tank demonstrator with innovative fluted-core skirt is formed via robotic AFP and cured out of the autoclave.

Plant Tour

Plant tour: Spirit AeroSystems: Prestwick, Scotland, UK
Global aerostructures giant Spirit AeroSystems ventures into out-of-autoclave (OAA) composites manufacturing via vacuum infusion.

Products and Literature

· CAM software updated

· Composites repair kit

· Data logger measures temperature, humidity, voltage and more

· Design simulation software

· Industrial gel coat

· Tooling board


Alternative precursor R&D: First commercial use of lignin carbon fiber?
GrafTech International (Independence, OH, US) is working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, TN, US) and the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office to develop lignin fiber manufacturing and demonstrate it in viable products.

Alternative precursor R&D: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL, Oak Ridge, TN, US) has been at the forefront of North American research into alternatives to the polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor used to make aerospace-grade carbon fiber.

Alternative precursor R&D: What are the alternatives to PAN?
Carbon fibers made from other precursors are in use, commercially, and many more precursor alternatives have been investigated.

Work in Progress

Alternative precursor R&D: Lignin in the lightweighting limelight
This abundant, renewable resource shows promise as an alternative to PAN for low-cost, functional carbon fibers.

Recycled carbon fiber proves its potential for aircraft interiors
An Airbus-led team characterizes RCF veils and shows their ability to best glass fiber composite sidewalls in cost, weight and surface finish.