EuCIA wants a composite UFO

The European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) is launching a competition that challenges teams of engineering students to design a flying object made from composite materials.

The European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA, Frankfurt, Germany) is launching a competition that challenges teams of engineering students from across Europe with the goal of designing a flying object made from composite materials. The competition aims to raise awareness of the benefits of composites in the aerospace industry. The university teams will compete to test their designs during the Composites Europe 2008 trade show Sept. 23–25 in Essen, Germany. The competition will be judged by a range of professionals and personalities from the academic world and will be aired live via television.

The challenge is a competition to encourage young engineers to design new and innovative flying objects made out of composites materials, but still work in the performance department. The students are given the opportunity to apply their engineering skills and creativity, working in teams to develop real-world solutions.

“An open competition is an excellent way to identify and hopefully inspire new ideas about composites,"EuCIA president Volker Fritz said. “It will be exciting to see these young engineers test their creative designs. It is a great opportunity for them to participate first-hand in such a competition, and the experience can spark a passion for knowledge that will last a lifetime' said Fritz.

The competition consists of two categories of construction materials. The first category is conventional composite materials such as glass fiber, carbon fiber, aramid fiber or basalt fiber. The matrix resin may be unsaturated polyester, vinyl ester or epoxy resin. The second category consists of composite materials based on natural raw materials; the reinforcing fibers must have a biological origin, such as flax, hemp, kenaf, jute or similar fibres. The matrix resin must be based on renewable raw materials. A proof of the origin of the materials must be provided. The judging will be based on two flight categories, the longest flight time and the precision flight. The longest flying time of the three attempts and the shortest distance of three consecutive flights will be used to judge the outcome of the competition.

Teams are invited to fill in an entry form and submit it to EuCIA, together with a draft design, by May 31, 2008. For an entry form and further information, contact Ab Kasper, sector group manager, EuCIA, at +32 2 732 41 24, or