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Engineering Materials

Slideshow: Anatomy of a Composite-Heavy Jetliner

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William K.
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Re: Paint?
William K.   1/13/2014 6:21:12 PM
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At one time corrosion was a problem with some composites, and so they had to be painted. The corrosion was quite different from what we see in metal, and it surprised a few people. In addition the assembly of composite structures is different from the metal ones, just look at the stress/strain curves. Sort of like bolting to plate glass. It can be done quite well if you do it exactly right.

Of course another very smart move is keeping the production of those things relatively in house, because a lot of the Boeing problems were from outside suppliers.

It always pays to learn from other peoples mistakes, and that certainly holds true with batteries. Of course there may be alowances made for a future upgrade, which would not be mentioned until it was ready to happen.

kenish
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Re: Paint?
kenish   12/12/2013 2:16:34 PM
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You beat me to explaining why composites need to be painted.  American Airlines planes were unpainted aluminum for decades.  I recall it was more maintenance intensive than paint, but the weight savings paid off and surface drag of polished aluminum was similar to paint.  The one exception was their Airbus A300's.  The grain orientation was different in the various fuselage skins and the planes were painted gray to avoid a "quiltwork" appearance.  The latest AA color scheme is gray across the entire fleet to get ready for the 787 which must be painted.

The illuminated tail is called a "logo light" and greatly improves visibility of the plane.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: COmposite jetliner
Ann R. Thryft   6/10/2013 1:39:25 PM
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patb2009, composites have saved lots of weight which is why they've been used in military aircraft for decades.
http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=235863
Yes, they're difficult to recycle, but efforts are underway to solve this problem by the time it becomes an issue for commercial aircraft.
http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=235280
And the lightning strike problem is not a problem anymore. See slide 2 of this slideshow for one method and this article for others
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=253665
Design News has covered these subjects extensively: see the list of related posts at the end of the article, or search our site on 'composites'.

patb2009
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COmposite jetliner
patb2009   6/7/2013 10:15:35 PM
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1) To date, Composite materials haven't produced much net weight reduction compared to

metal.  While in test coupons, Carbon Fiber and Kevlar have fantastic S/n curves compared

to Al or Fe, in actual design, the parts tend to weight just as much and have unpredictable failure modes.  Maybe Airbus has cracked it (No Joke intended), but they've also

lost birds to composite failures.

 

2) Composites are difficult to recycle at end of life. An aluminum airplane is shredded

and made into lunchboxes, a composite airplane is toxic waste.

 

3) Have they solved the lightning strike problem and NDI problem?

 

 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Paint?
Ann R. Thryft   6/5/2013 8:02:52 PM
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Chuck, I'm reasonably sure your tongue is planted solidly in your cheek, right?



Charles Murray
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Re: Paint?
Charles Murray   6/5/2013 7:12:30 PM
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I can't help it -- I like engines. I'm thinking of buying an old GM small block for my garage, just to look at.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Paint?
Ann R. Thryft   6/5/2013 1:13:54 PM
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Thanks, Chuck. I actually liked many of the other photos better: the ones showing different components under construction or being tested.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: COMPOSITE-HEAVY
Ann R. Thryft   6/5/2013 1:12:54 PM
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Thanks, bobjengr. I have no idea what aircraft makers can deduct on their corporate tax statements. I have a tough enough time keeping track of what I can deduct on mine as an individual ;-)

Regarding battery types, that's a good point: commercial jet makers have a completely different set of liability problems from makers of military jets, satellites, or space station components.

Charles Murray
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Re: Paint?
Charles Murray   6/4/2013 8:02:24 PM
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Great slideshow, Ann. A photo of a huge jet engine will always be cool, no matter what the aircraft is made out of.

bobjengr
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COMPOSITE-HEAVY
bobjengr   6/4/2013 5:52:20 PM
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 Excellent slide show Ann.  The video was cool also.  OK--I'm going to ask an "off-the wall" question.  Can these airlines deduct from their expenses logo-types as advertising?  Even a percentage of the cost to paint and maintain the exterior?  I have always wondered if this can be done.  While in the Air Force, we pondered paint vs. no paint as far as extended range. (Of course this was long before "stealth" was a priority or even possible.) As far as battery type, I think you go with tried and proven if there is any possible issue with liability or in-flight damage.

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