COMAC is the main organization that is facilitating the building of large passenger aircraft in China. The company is mandated with the overall planning and development of trunk liner and regional jet programs, as well as the industrialization of civil aircraft. It is building the new C919 jet, which will use aluminum-lithium alloys and composites in its airframe structures.
COMAC also recently signed a long-term collaboration agreement with Bombardier. Initially, the companies will collaborate on four projects that recognize the similarities between the C919 and Bombardier's CSeries family of commercial airliners. One of the projects is developing standards and specifications for the use of aluminum-lithium in aircraft.
Several different companies and organizations jointly own COMAC, including the Aluminum Corporation of China, also known as China Aluminum Corp. (CHINALCO or CHINCO). CHINALCO has reportedly announced the third generation of its 540mm aluminum-lithium alloy for use in large aircraft.
The company has spent several years in R&D working on aluminum alloys for China's aerospace industry. The new alloy represents a breakthrough for China, and for its aerospace industry, since the production of aluminum-lithium has long been dominated by suppliers in other countries, the company's senior managers said.
The world doesn't revolve around the United States. China is a huge and growing market, and aerospace companies would be foolish to ignore it. There is also a tremendous amount of talent in Chinese universities and research institutions, not to mention money for research. Boeing and Bombardier are engaging in these partnerships because they clearly think it is in their commercial interest to do so.
A lot of people seem to be saying that the Chinese only know how to copy, not how to innovate; that the quality of Chinese products is always inferior; that the Chinese are avaricious and can't be trusted, etc.
Besides being completely unfair generalizations, these are also the same things which people in Britain and Germany said about the U.S. in the 1800s.
Research into how to make commercial aircraft more fuel efficient, develop improved lightweight aluminum alloys, etc. is a good thing, no matter what country it takes place in.
In my opinion your statement is very purist. It is nice and dandy to have partners in other parts of the world, however do not forget who these partners are. Not all are our friends in heart. With all the problems of Chinese stealing secrets from numerous coutries, serious drive to increase and make stronger their military, air force and navy, does california really need to buy steel from them. Can't we find scientists in US to work on lighter and more durable Aluminum. Don't we have refinaries that can produce it?!
We need to stop looking for fast savings by moving abroad, and should start supporting our own industries.Not always the basic commercial interest should take over the decision process.
I do feel that we are loosing our knowhow and industrial power to other countries, and it is not smart.
@sensorpro: Aluminum isbeing produced in the U.S., and scientists in the U.S.are working on developing lighter and stronger aluminum alloys. In fact, Chinese scientists in the U.S. are working on developing lighter and stronger aluminum alloys. Particularly when it comes to research, I don't think innovation in one country is an impediment to innovation in another country. It's not a zero-sum game.
My point had nothing to do with who works on Aluminum or anything else for that affect. We are too open with out technology. What I'm saying is that our govenment created over 15% unemployment, basically crippled NASA, has engineers working in landscaping, while California purchases Billions of steel from China. Parts of planes are made in China and Korea. Eight or six solar power companies are chapter 11 due to missmanagement, fraud and due to unreasonably low panel prices from China.
And now we are "happy" that 787 will be partially made or developed in China.
Did I miss anything?!
Take that money and hire our guys and develop it inhouse. Am I wrong ?
@sensorpro: The article doesn't say that the 787 will be partially made or developed in China. The article mentions that one of the areas of collaboration is lightweight alloys, and the 787 is given as an example of a Boeing aircraft where lightweight alloys are used.
By all means, let's have more R&D in the U.S. But that doesn't mean that companies shouldn't do R&D in China also. It's entirely possible that some of the technologies developed at the Boeing-COMAC center may eventually create jobs in the U.S.
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NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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