What are advanced composite products?
Before we can dive into what advanced composite products are, we first need to define a composite. A composite is a multiphase material, artificially made to obtain a certain set of properties not provided by the original constituent materials. That being said, advanced composite products are materials made from a layering of fiber layers used in applications where strength, stiffness, and lightweight properties are desired. Carbon, glass, or aramid fibers are layered onto a mold and then injected with a resin matrix to hold the fibers together. They are then cured by heat or chemical reaction to form the finished product.
Examples of advanced composite materials
Advanced composite materials are used in a variety of industries, including the aerospace, automotive, and construction industries, where the products made are highly visible. Looking at the aerospace industry in particular, advanced composite materials are extremely important in the construction of aircraft structures like wings, fuselages, and aircraft components including landing gear and engine nacelles. Being strong, durable, and lightweight, is key to how well these products function in their usage.
When are advanced composites used?
Since these materials are known for their high strength-to-weight ratio, they are used in situations where traditional materials like steel or aluminum might be too heavy and hamper functionality. Additionally, a manufacturer’s need for products that have high corrosion and fatigue resistance is important and is another use of advanced composites.
What is the difference between a composite and an advanced composite?
A composite is made from a combination of two or more different materials that have significantly different chemical or physical properties. These materials take advantage of the unique properties of the individual material to create one with properties that are superior to those of the constituent parts. An advanced composite, on the other hand, has a high strength-to-weight ratio and is very durable. They are a specialized form of composite material and are used in applications where high strength, high durability, and low weight are required. These are very important characteristics in aerospace engineering and manufacturing, where the highest quality product needs to be made at the lowest cost.
How to properly design advanced composite product parts?
Advanced composite products should be designed by first understanding the product requirements like performance and functional needs as well as any relevant design constraints. Once these have been identified, designers should brainstorm materials to take into account strength, stiffness, weight, corrosion resistance, and cost. The lay-up or molding process determines the final mechanical properties of the product. They determine the orientation, number, and thickness of each composite layer as well as the specific fiber and resin matrix materials that need to be used. Once additional element analysis to predict product behavior under various load conditions is completed, the product can go into scaled manufacturing.
At the end of the day, it is important to understand that advanced composites are lightweight, strong, and environmentally durable. Additionally, they are excellent insulators and can retain their shape in extreme conditions. Advanced composites like fiberglass have lower signal attenuation to make sure data connectivity is maintained wherever it is needed. Prior to scaled manufacturing and production, designers should brainstorm the ideal combination of materials that will lead to the most optimal usage of the composite products and how they will behave in real conditions under various load levels.
TIGHITCO has been a leader in aerospace manufacturing for the last half-century. Our NADCAP, ISO, AS9100, and AS9110 certifications are just the tip of the iceberg. The combination of our climate-controlled layup rooms, ovens, laser projector system, non-destructive inspections, and freezer storage in addition to our composite engineering process is unmatched. If you are ready to get started on your next project, don’t hesitate to contact us today.