CW Blog

Although I couldn’t attend in person, EAA’s 2018 AirVenture at Oshkosh, WI, US happened during the last week of July and as always offered up a banquet of news and innovative new products, including flying cars, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) personal air vehicles and combinations of the two. And who can resist talking about those things?

Numerous entities are now jostling to position their concepts for what seems to be a growing new market for urban-area, airborne taxis or personal air vehicles, sometimes called on-demand aviation, that promises to lift you above congested ground traffic. Whether or not the anticipated demand is real may be a good question, as is how hundreds of air vehicles buzzing above large cities are going to be regulated by the FAA, but big players including Uber (in partnership with NASA) with its flying car, Alphabet and partner Kitty Hawk with the Cora concept, and Airbus with its Vahana aircraft are betting on it, as well as multiple smaller entities including Terrafugia and Samson Motors.

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Lightweight Reading: Endless Summer Edition

Welcome to another installment of Lightweight Reading, CWs semi-regular blog post rounding up some of the fun and sometimes unusual product releases and news within the composites industry. As summer draws to a close, I thought it might be fun to reflect on a couple of recent water sport products that feature composites.

 

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Composite materials and innovations are constantly evolving. In addition to industry news, features, blog posts and podcasts, CW also maintains a comprehensive collection of product announcements provided by companies. This monthly roundup includes links to regular posts concerning the latest products of interest to the composites industry.

This month’s innovations include:

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Like many people, this week past I’ve been obsessed with NASA’s solar probe. The Parker Solar Probe — named after solar science pioneer Professor Eugene Parker who developed theories on solar wind and the solar magnetic field in the mid-1950s — launched on Aug. 12 and will travel to the corona of the Sun to study the star and solar wind.

The probe will perform in situ measurements and imaging to study the corona. In order to endure the extreme temperatures in this region which reach approximately 2,500°F (1,377°C), the probe utilizes a 4.5-inch thick lightweight reflective shield. This Thermal Protection System (TPS) is made from carbon composite foam sandwiched between two carbon plates and coated with white ceramic paint on the sun-facing surface. The shield was designed by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (Laurel, Maryland, US) and built at Carbon-Carbon Advanced Technologies (Kennedale, TX, US).

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My April blog “Continuous fiber thermoplastics are smart for world’s largest appliance manufacturer” discussed the development of a high-end production air conditioner using CFRTP composite materials by supplier Covestro and the world’s largest appliance company Haier. Now Covestro has trademarked these materials as Maezio, which include carbon or glass fibers impregnated with polycarbonate (PC), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) or other thermoplastic resins. Covestro produces unidirectional reinforced tapes and sheets at its production site in Markt Bibart, Germany.

Maezio continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) materials are produced by Covestro in Markt Bibart, Germany. SOURCE: Covestro

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