SAMPE Highlights, UCAVs, Nanocomposites and Wind Energy

Like many of you, the HPC staff is preparing to attend the U.S. SAMPE conference (May 16-20, Long Beach, Calif., U.S.A.) - always a major event that keeps us abreast of the latest aerospace technology as we talk to the engineers involved in the work. For those of you who are planning your agendas for the event, our

Like many of you, the HPC staff is preparing to attend the U.S. SAMPE conference (May 16-20, Long Beach, Calif., U.S.A.) - always a major event that keeps us abreast of the latest aerospace technology as we talk to the engineers involved in the work. For those of you who are planning your agendas for the event, our SAMPE 2004 Preview (p. 23), includes a brief conference schedule, a list of exhibitors with booth numbers and a product/service directory, as well.

Highlights of the well-attended SAMPE Europe conference, held concurrently with the JEC Show last month, can be found on p. 21. At a standing-room-only "Aerospace Forum," speakers from five major aerospace OEMs, including Boeing and Airbus, discussed the increased use of composites in future designs and how this will impact the major owners of aircraft and their maintenance concerns.

This issue of HPC contributes to the discussion of these same themes. Our feature on unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) on p. 37 takes a look at unmanned aircraft already in use and previews upcoming UCAV programs, as well. On p. 49, HPC talks to three major composite nacelle manufacturers, discovering that they are all optimizing their design and fabrication strategies in an effort to make composite parts more efficiently and less expensively. "Focus on Design" (p. 52) ties right in, explaining how one company's use of standardized repair software is beginning to be a big money-saver in maintenance operations. And our roundup of surfacing films (p. 44) presents an array of new films from leading manufacturers and discusses where and why they are being used.

Although nanocomposite materials development is still in its infancy, last month's Nanotech 2004 Conference in Boston demonstrated that nanotechnology will find an as yet inestimable number of uses, with some certain to impact composites applications. On p. 19, our conference reviewer culled through the many Nanotech sessions to find the ones you might find the most interesting in relation to composites.

In his "Market Trends" column (p. 7), wind energy expert Dayton Griffin says the wind energy industry is still in its "teen-age" years: A number of new, blade designs using a variety of composite materials and processes have the potential to make fabrication more efficient and turbine operation more effective, so the industry's future is still up for grabs.

Furthering the discussion of strategies for handling the issue of carbon fiber availability, this month's "Speaking Out" is written by Zoltek Europe's Tim McCarthy. (If you recall, "Speaking Out" in the March issue was written on the same subject by D.J. DeLong from DeLong and Associates LLC.) If you would like to voice a suggestion or opinion on this issue, we would like to hear from you. You can call me at (303) 467-1776 or e-mail judy@compositesworld.com.

There is still time to register with goComp.biz for the Apple iPOD 15GB. The drawing takes place on the afternoon of May 21, just after we all get home from the SAMPE conference. Simply register at the goComp.biz URL of any company mentioned in this issue. But remember: To be eligible for the drawing, you must fill in at least two items of information designated on the easy-to-use form and you may not select "I wish to remain anonymous."

See you at SAMPE!