Engineering Materials

Aircraft Materials Lighten Up

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Thanks for the great article!
jacksos1   7/31/2012 2:45:36 PM
I appreciate you including us in the discussion.


Cheers, Susan


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Possible use of this technology
notarboca   8/1/2012 12:43:10 AM
I see this technology as being useful in the manufacture of jackscrews, ths component that is often used to actuate control surfaces.  If it was constructed of a lightweight plastic with a low coefficent of friction, this would be less inertia needed to move the jackscrew (energy saving for the drive motor) and could possibly lessen the need for lubrication substances.  Remember the Alaska Airlines DC-9 that crashed due to failure of the jackscrew from inadequate/wrong tytpe of grease?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Thanks for the great article!
Ann R. Thryft   8/1/2012 12:02:06 PM
BASF's website at the link Susan gives below has a clickable overall diagram of the numerous types of plastics and other materials for an airplane manufactured by the company. While high-level, I found this info helpful in my background research. Clicking on any of the categories leads to a different diagram giving more detail. For example, the high-level diagram on the structural materials page http://www.aerospace.basf.com/structural-materials/ gives an idea of where different types of composites, thermoplastics, PIM and polyurethane materials might be used in an aircraft.

Ed Fuller
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Re: Are aircraft composites that radical?
Ed Fuller   8/1/2012 5:25:39 PM
One of the major reasons William Boeing chose Seattle to build his airplane factory was the ready availability of spruce (particularly Sitka spruce aka "Aircraft Spruce").

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Re: Thanks for the great article!
jacksos1   8/3/2012 4:11:48 PM
I should also clarify that the Divinycell F is manufactured by Diab using BASF materials.  Thanks.


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Re: Composites not the only game in town
ScotCan   8/13/2012 5:23:17 PM
It really shouldn't be a surprise that composites are not the be all and end all of advanced structures. Aluminum has served the aircraft industries well and is (relatively speaking) a fail-safe material...dings, dents and cracks are all fixable in aluminum....dings in composites you don't know about until you've got 12 feet of delamination flapping in the breeze. Dents require trepanning the damage out of the composite and rebuilding the location. Things like leading edges in composites are fine until you have a bird strike then it's easier to replace the whole leading edge. A bird strike on an aluminum leading edge is field fixable by any competent sheet metal basher...most get you home fixes are good enough for a number of flights since the pilot will be able to view the fix and make a decision on whether to fly. Try making the same decision on a composite fix and you don't know whether its good bad or indifferent. Alcoa et al are not going to go out of business because the new fad is composites...in fact they've still got a lot up their sleeves....variations in ARALL and GLARE are just two of the aluminum/composite hybrids that'll run circles around pure composites


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