Aerospace is one of the largest consumers of the composites industry. Composites are used considerably in the manufacture of commercial aircraft, military craft, helicopters, business jets, general aviation aircraft and space craft. The constant call for lighter and more efficient aircraft will continue to propel business opportunities for composite material, parts and airframe structure manufacturers over the next decade or so.
The versatility of composites lends them suitable for both structural and component applications in aircrafts. Every now and then some innovative application of composites in aircrafts keeps up the demand for these materials. In terms of cost performance and sustainability, continuous improvements are registered in design and production processes. Composite penetration in aerospace will also be driven by the need to improve production rates.
In addition, component count reduction and corrosion reduction can favour the mammoth aircraft maintenance programs and mounting costs. While in commercial aircrafts, operating cost reduction is a big draw, in military, payload, range, flight performance and survivability determines the market for composites.
However in the automotive sector this cycle time reduces to few minutes cycles (as less as 2 to 5 minutes). Similarly while in aerospace, for every unit of weight in kilogram, the savings is $600, in the industrial sector, this cost advantage falls to about $11-15 per kilogram and the fiber costs need to be as low as $5-7/lb.
Business intelligence provider visiongain, forecasts the world market for aerospace composites to reach $10.3 billion in 2014, largely driven by growing demand for lighter and more fuel efficient aircraft. However, the report, which lists QuEST Global, also states that further improvements will need to be made in the production process of high-value advanced composite materials for the market to grow to its full potential.
Here’s a paper on failure (in terms of fatigue) analysis of composites.