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In recognition of National Composites Week, CompositesWorld is looking back on the top 20 stories of the past decade. These stories are still relevant today and show the impact of composites across time. Are composites essential? The answer in these stories proves to be yes.

  1. Basalt Fibers: Alternative to Glass?

High-temperature performance and superior strength properties may make this late-comer a better choice in some applications.

  1. Getting To The Core Of Composite Laminates

A wealth of low-cost core solutions are available for high-performance sandwich structures.

  1. Wind turbine blades: Glass vs. carbon fiber

As the wind energy market continues to grow, competition heats up between glass and carbon fiber composites for turbine blades.

  1. Out-of-autoclave prepregs: Hype or revolution?

Oven-cured, vacuum-bagged prepregs show promise in production primary structures.

  1. Microspheres: Fillers filled with possibilities

For composite applications, these hollow microstructures displace a lot of volume at low weight and add an abundance of processing and product enhancements.

  1. Advanced materials for aircraft interiors

Applications aren't as demanding as airframe composites, but requirements are still exacting — passenger safety is key.

  1. Lightning Strike Protection For Composite Structures

Composite structures are more vulnerable to damage than metal, but today's LSP products offer proven protection.

  1. The first commercial Type V composite pressure vessel

Composites Technology Development's first commercial tank in the Type V category presages growth of filament winding in storage of compressed gases.

  1. A hidden revolution: composite rebar gains strength

Fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) replacing coated steel in more reinforced-concrete applications.

  1. Boeing 787 Update

Approaching rollout and first flight, the 787 relies on innovations in composite materials and processes to hit its targets

  1. Recycled carbon fiber update: Closing the CFRP lifecycle loop

Commercial production of recycled carbon fiber currently outpaces applications for it, but materials characterization and new technology demonstrations promise to close the gap.

  1. Composite leaf springs: Saving weight in production

Fast-reacting resins and speedier processes are making economical volume manufacturing possible.

  1. Ceramic-matrix composites heat up

Lightweight, hard and stable at high temperatures, CMCs are emerging from two decades of study and development into commercial applications.

  1. Wind turbine blades: Big and getting bigger

Two decades of technical and market development has made this once marginal application a global giant and one of the world’s largest markets for composites.

  1. The Basics Of Boat Design

Naval architects reveal design, tooling and material selection guidelines for a new sportfishing powerboat.

  1. Thermoplastic composites: Primary structure?

Yes, advanced forms are in development, but has the technology progressed enough to make the business case?

  1. Machining carbon composites: Risky business

As composites take a larger part (and form larger parts) in the aerospace structures sector, it’s not just a make-it-or-break-it proposition.

  1. Nacelle manufacturers optimize hand layup and consider closed molding methods

Focused on optimizing traditional hand layup, nacelle and thrust reverser manufacturers cast an eye on future use of automation and closed molding.

  1. ATL and AFP: Defining the megatrends in composite aerostructures

Automated tape laying and automated fiber placement technologies take a key enabling role in production of today’s — and tomorrow’s — composite-airframed commercial jets.

  1. Aviation Outlook: Composites in General Aviation 2011-2020

As the general aviation (GA) segment emerges from the recessionary storm clouds, GA manufacturers and the composites supply chain that supports them should see sunny days … with some clouds and a chance of rain.

It should be noted that two honorable outlier mentions are “The making of glass fiber” and “The making of carbon fiber.”