Composite Materials Features

Find in depth design and production features about composites. Our editors bring you a host of the latest thinking, innovation, materials views and opinions about new and exotic composites, how to design to get the most from them, and new methods to manufacture them as cost effectively as possible.

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23/02/2017

Dyson’s air purifier engineers fresh air like filtering water

The average pair of human lungs breathes 10L of air every minute. Air quality has an immediate effect on well-being and exposure to poor air quality can have lasting implications to health. A recent EU review estimates 50,000 Britons are dying prematurely each year from diseases caused by air pollutants, and six million working days are lost from air pollution-related illnesses. Among the most damaging pollutants are fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone. These tiny particles are suspended in the atmosphere and when inhaled, can cling to the lining of the lungs and cause respiratory illness and other lasting health issues.  Read More

06/12/2016

Low cost carbon fibre breakthrough

While its properties might be considered premium, so too is the price tag associated with carbon fibre production and processing, making the lightweight material out of reach of the mass market. James Bakewell finds out if this is about to change?  Read More

06/12/2016

Getting the ‘wonder’ material Graphene to market

As much as Engineering Materials encourage the use of different materials, using the right material for the right application is rarely as straightforward as it sounds. And what happens when something better comes along like graphene?  Read More

06/12/2016

Is it really feasible to engineer materials that will self-repair?

Fibre-reinforced plastics are rapidly becoming the materials of choice for applications where both high mechanical performance and low weight are required. Boeing and Airbus have used these materials extensively in the latest generations of their aircraft, and carmakers – most notably BMW – are working feverishly to find affordable ways of getting them into their vehicles.  Read More

07/06/2016

The lightest solid on Earth

It is so light, it’s said that this material can balance on a Dandelion without even deforming the individual seed heads. Engineering Materials finds out more about this modern day marvel.   Read More

07/06/2016

Carbyne: twice the strength of Graphene?

The weird and wonderful world of nano-materials is gathering pace with many showing genuine promise. But while graphene has been seen as king, has it now been usurped?   Read More

07/06/2016

The secrets of why spider threads stay taut are inspiring the development of bio-inspired composite fibres

Like many before, scientists from the University of Oxford and the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris have taken inspiration from spider webs to create hybrid wire technology. The technique that’s been developed could be used in applications including microfabrication of complex structures, reversible micro-motors and self-tensioned stretchable systems.  Read More

06/06/2016

Understanding failure

Joining composite together poses a number of very different issues from traditional materials. In automotive and those more use to working with metals the reliance on welding is no longer a turn to design staple. It is also not possible to drill and tap composite and honeycomb panels so standard fastener can be difficult to use too. And while bonding is also a popular option, it doesn’t bode well later in life for disassembly.  Read More

06/06/2016

Process innovation now the focus of the composites industry

The JEC Show in Paris has become the annual must go to event for composite manufacturers. The talk was once all about the possibilities but this year that turned firmly on the practicalities. While the composites industry has always been inextricably linked to lightweight parts, this year’s show was keen to highlight that high volume composite parts aren’t a pipe dream, but a production ready reality.   Read More

06/06/2016

Quartz fibre prepreg

To enable the manufacture of an intricately-shaped watch case for prestigious Swiss brand Richard Mille, North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT) has developed a unique thin ply quartz prepreg. The 52g/m2 material made its debut in the exclusive RM 27-02 Rafael Nadal watch first worn by the Spanish tennis player at the French Open in May 2015.  Read More

06/06/2016

Staring at a tumour

Additive manufacturing is changing the way many sectors approach product development. However, outside of engineering, it is also being used by surgeons to revolutionise the way they approach major operations.  Read More

08/03/2016

Natural fibre composites vs carbon fibres: Engineering lighter cars

A UK funded project is aiming to develop automotive structures using flax fibres and a bio-epoxy resin intermingled with carbon fibres. The project called CARBIO, is developing hybrid composite materials to produce lighter, cheaper, and environmentally sound parts.  Read More

08/03/2016

Cheaper carbon fibre: injection moulding thermoplastic and recycled carbon fibre to make BMW clutch pedal

Carbon fibre remains a premium and expensive material, out of reach for most mainstream automotive manufacturers. However, recycling virgin fibres and mixing them with a thermoplastic offers an affordable alternative.  Read More

08/03/2016

Composite volume production: lightweight material challenge

While everyone agrees composites could be a good fit for automotive – at least when it comes to lightweighting – producing parts in the volumes needed is an area that continues to challenge.   Read More

09/12/2015

The Weighting Game

Automotive researchers and engineers are looking for ways to knock the fat off nearly every part of a vehicle in their efforts to achieve higher fuel economy.  Read More

09/12/2015

Ceramic composites eye applications

The development of silicon carbide matrix composites is giving rise to host of initial applications in the aerospace industry and beyond. For example, General Electric (GE) is to ‘mass-produce’ ceramic matrix composites (CMC), following an announcement that the company will build two CMC factories in Alabama at a cost of $200million.  Read More

09/12/2015

Materials increasingly self repair

Self repairing materials are showing evermore impressive results. Here we look at two recent impressive examples that could soon be set for real world application.  Read More

09/12/2015

None more black

In the immortal words uttered by Nigel Tufnel of spoof 80s band Spinal Tap, “It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is, none. None more black.” Justin Cunningham finds a material that is laying claim to the sentiment.   Read More

09/12/2015

Weaving the future

There is a global trend to lightweight parts across all industries. But while the materials have existed for decades, the manufacturing processes are only just coming of age.  Read More

11/09/2015

The testing and analysis of wind turbine blades

We talk to an engineer whose day job it is to bend and even break goliath wind turbine blades, and find out what can be learnt as the materials are put through their paces. Justin Cunningham reports.  Read More

10/09/2015

Early graphene adopters lead way for greater commercialisation

After years of development, graphene is set for commercialisation. Here, we find out the applications that are likely to benefit and the techniques that have been developed to make series production possible. James Bakewell reports.  Read More

22/06/2015

Building colour confidence

Carbon fibre uses the Henry Ford attitude: ‘You can have any colour, as long as it’s black’. And it’s here designers and engineers face a challenge. But, is that about to change?  Read More

10/03/2015

Raising the BAR

If you have the best sailor in the Olympic history, sailing the best boat available, then the long wait for a British victory in the America's Cup will be over. Easier said than done of course  Read More

06/03/2015

Composites ready for mass production of auto industry

Composites and the automotive industry are yet to answer the volume question. So will thermoplastics allow lightweight structures be produced in their millions quickly and at the right price? James Bakewell finds out.   Read More

06/03/2015

Leading composites innovations for 2015 announced

As Europe's biggest composites show approaches, we look at the innovations that have been making the headlines.  Read More

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