Composite solutions

Atkins | 28 Apr 2014 | Comments

To start this blog I’d like to take a quote from Jeff Sloan, Editor-in-Chief of High Performance Composites in his March 2014 editorial:-

“These material, software and process possibilities, and others like them, hold much promise, but will demand much courage from their advocates. Who among us will persist in pursuit of them despite uncertainty and, in some quarters, great skepticism? Will we (or our kids) someday look back on those who make history in aerocomposites and, in hindsight, take quite for granted these now quite unlikely outcomes? My educated guess is yes.”

His final comment relates to recent advances in Thermoplastics for use in aerospace. I would like to add that the sentiment is just as valid on a much wider scale, as composite materials offer significant opportunities in many sectors including rail and bridges where their potential is being questioned. It needs to be understood that many industries are highly “risk adverse”, critics may say “slow”. But, to be fair, they have solutions that work, so why risk what is seen as high investment and high risk for difficult to quantify gains some-time in the future? I’ve heard that thinking often and when put simply has a degree of logic. The trick then, is to understand the problems, and assess those where composites can indeed provide answers. Obvious ones include stiffness and strength to weight ratios, less obvious ones could be low thermal expansion, low fatigue, mould-ability. What needs to be done is for composite experts to engage with various industries, understand the issues and assess potential improvements.

Let’s work together to find better solutions, where we can, so we can indeed make history that we and our kids can be proud of.