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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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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Is carbon fibre unravelling?

The use of carbon fibre is proliferating throughout industry. But is the supply chain ready to respond to the expected increase in demand? Or is the wonder material about to unravel?   Read More


Graphene: What does the future hold outside of the lab?

The 2010 Nobel Prize catapulted Graphene onto the world stage, and it's since captured the attention of the materials world. No doubt there are extraordinary opportunities.  Read More


Process brings colour to carbon

Carbon fibre has taken a leaf out of Henry Ford's book. You can have it in any colour you like, as long as it is black. By its very nature, carbon is black, and consequently as nice as any lacquered finish might look, if you want it in any other colour you have to resort to painting over the surface.  Read More


Composites set to benefit transportation industries

Introducing exotic materials into industries where metallic's have ruled is an ongoing challenge for the composites sector. The materials' inherent low-density has always been its best selling point.   Read More


F1 changes the world

The Science museum pays homage to the technology that has come out of Formula One. Justin Cunningham pays it a visit  Read More


Lightweight composite material could be a 'game changer'

An anonymous industrial estate on the outskirts of Basingstoke might not seem the place for the start of a revolution in lightweighting, but if the partnership between Composite Metal Technology (CMT) and C&J Antich & Sons lives up to expectations, then perhaps the town best known for its plethora of roundabouts will have another, more impressive, claim to fame.  Read More


Carbon fibre composites continue to proliferate throughout industry

Over the last decade, the civil aerospace industry has pioneered the manufacture of large composite components, taking the material from being considered exotic and destined for military and space bound applications, to the relative mainstream. And this has sparked interest from a number of different sectors including automotive and sporting equipment manufacturers looking to take out weight while improving strength.  Read More


Composites boost performance of track day car

Track day events have become increasingly popular in the last decade with many motorsport enthusiasts taking to the circuit to get a first hand taste of what it's like to travel around without a speed restriction. The trend has seen a number of mainstream manufacturers bring to market track-ready versions of production vehicles, to cater for individuals that want to drive cars optimised for the track.  Read More


Which type of composite material is right for you?

Make no mistake, composites are on the increase. The perception that the material is an exotic choice for engineers with big budgets is becoming more dated by the day. Composites are now filtering down from industries such as motorsport and aerospace, and finding more applications, in more industry sectors.  Read More


Virtually refined: The engineering success story behind the 2012 Olympics

The design and manufacture of Great Britain's gold medal winning bike helped athletes in the last three Olympic Games win medals.  Read More

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