CW Blog

One of the highlights from CAMX 2018 was a video that gave attendees a glimpse of the future through the eyes of the composites industry. It gives a great overview of how composites have the potential to continue improving our lives in so many areas from improving aging infrastructure to advancing transportation to renewable energy to aerospace. The video features Dave Cooper, VP, Glass Reinforcements at Owens Corning (Toledo, OH, US) and Leon Garoufalis, president & COO at Composites One (Arlington Heights, IL, US)  discussing composites applications, innovations, sustainability, growth and the future of the industry. 

 

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A race seems to be underway to develop stronger, lighter and more cost effective pressure vessels that can withstand the extremely cold temperatures of rocket fuels. In the past, using composites for the storage of cryogenic liquid fuel – liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen, liquid methane – has been met with concern revolving around the potential for leaks, due to microcracking of traditional carbon/epoxy composite laminates at extremely low temperatures. A leap forward with the technology seems to be underway. 

In July it was reported that Ingersoll Machine Tools (Rockford, IL, US) has created the world’s largest fiber placement machine – 51 feet tall, 136 feet long and 43 feet wide – for Blue Origin (Kent,  WA, US) that will be used to manufacture composite cryogenic rocket fuel tanks as well as payload fairings. 

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CAMX 2018, held in Dallas Oct. 15-18, offered a comprehensive glimpse of how materials and processing technologies are evolving for the global composites industry. Aerospace, automotive, wind and marine were the dominant end markets, with thermoplastics, additive manufacturing and automation dominant on the materials and process side.

As has been the trend of late, there continues to be much speculation about material and process options being considered and developed by Boeing and Airbus for next-generation aircraft programs, and many industry watchers have a keen eye focused on the automotive industry, which continues to embrace composite materials. And for molds, large-format additive manufacturing systems are, increasingly, being called upon to quickly fabricate affordable autoclave-capable tools.

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The National Business Aviation Assn. (NBAA) held its annual meeting in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center and the Orlando Executive Airport a couple of weeks ago. The event, which attracted more than 23,000 people from business, government, manufacturing, corporate aviation departments and MRO, generated considerable news, including an update on Reno, Nevada-based Aerion Supersonic. Aerion CEO Tom Vice announced at NBAA on October 15 that the company, working in close collaboration with Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation, has concluded the conceptual design phase for the AS2 supersonic business jet and has now embarked on preliminary design—a phase that will conclude in June 2020: “We’re on track to fly in 2023, and before that year is out cross the Atlantic at supersonic speed, which will be the first supersonic crossing since the Concorde’s retirement 20 years earlier.”

Vice went on to say “Aerion and our AS2 industry team, comprised of Lockheed Martin, GE Aviation, and Honeywell, have solved many of the tremendous challenges in creating a supersonic renaissance. We’ve overcome some huge technical hurdles and we’re confident we’ll meet Stage 5 takeoff and landing noise requirements [a new noise standard more stringent than current requirements]. We’ve made strides in structures and systems. We’re recruiting top tier suppliers. And we’re attracting the best and brightest engineering talent to the program as we grow our organization.”

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I’m actually going to cover these CAMX 2018 highlights out of order, starting with a new thermoplastic composite material on display.

 

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