1396. Advanced Materials Application for Conventional Transports


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R D Mijares, J C Salvaggio: 1396. Advanced Materials Application for Conventional Transports. 1981.



The aircraft industry has continuously sought methods of reducing the inert weight of each new generation of aircraft. In the past this weight reduction effort was necessary to improve performance or meet contractual weight specifications. Today the program to save aircraft empty weight takes on renewed importance as a fuel conservation technique. With the cost of fuel over one-half of the direct operating expense, weight savings have become an item of particular interest to the aircraft operator, where once it resided almost exclusively with the aircraft manufacturer.
The use of lightweight, high-strength composite materials as a replacement for aluminum metals has been one area of current weight reduction activities. This paper describes the weight reductions applicable to a wide-body commercial transport through the use of advanced composite materials, particularly the development of a composite vertical fin and a composite aileron. In addition to current production items, this paper will review those under present development and testing, and future plans.
Composites are a proven construction material with demonstrated weight-savings potential. Capital cost and fabrication cost present challenging areas for further investigations. With the development of methods for competitive fabrication techniques, there will be considerably more use of composite materials as a replacement for aluminum application in the primary structure of future commercial transports.


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