1547. A Survey of Reported Weight and Cost Savings for Composite Vs Metal Airframes


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R L Foye: 1547. A Survey of Reported Weight and Cost Savings for Composite Vs Metal Airframes. 1983.



This paper considers both the structural weight and manufacturing cost impact of the use of composite
materials in primary and secondary aircraft structure. The viewpoint is that of early preliminary
design where only the general vehicle concepts have been selected. This study reviews the most recent
15 year history of airframe cost and, weight changes that have been predicted or experienced as a result
of the use of composite materials. The weight and cost changes were surveyed and tabulated according to
the major airframe weight groups; namely, main rotor blades ,main rotor hubs, transmissions, driveshafts,
tail rotors, controls ,propellers, complete fuselages, cockpits, cabins, tail cones, secondary structure,
floors, horizontal and vertical tails, landing gears, wings, control surfaces, and nacelles. Over 500
different composite aircraft component designs were surveyed. The data has been drawn from journal articles,
published papers, R&D reports, and personal communications. Helicopter, VSTOL, and fixed-wing applications
of composites have been pooled. The data is not comprehensive but represents a significant sampling of all
recent composite component designs. The results vary significantly from one component to another and with
few exceptions do not show much change with time over the last decade.


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