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Cost Of Maintaining Composites Can Offset Performance Gains

Aug 31,2018

Investigating how new composite repair technologies will help MRO providers

Carbon fiber has a long history in commercial aircraft manufacturing, but its first large-scale application was on the Boeing 787, which features composite materials for half its airframe. Airbus followed Boeing¡¯s lead and used composites for much of the A350¡¯s wings and fuselage, and any future clean-sheet aircraft¡ªas well as upgrades of existing models¡ªwill lean heavily on carbon fiber as well.

Composites have several advantages over metals: They are lighter, they don¡¯t corrode, and they exhibit better fatigue resistance. The tradeoff is that metal is easier to fix, so MRO providers need to add new tools, know-how and processes to ensure they are capable of handling the latest aircraft.

¡°Before the launch of the 787 and A350, we had mainly been providing composite repair services for wet lay-up repairs of fairings and other secondary structures of an aircraft,¡± says Ang Chye Kiat, executive vice president of aircraft maintenance and modification, at STEngineering Aerospace. ¡°With the fuselage and wings of 787s and A350s now compromising composite material as well, we have grown our capabilities to support these platforms not only with repairs but also modification work.¡±

Inspection and repair techniques for composite materials are developing apace but are still not as mature and well-understood as those in place for common aerospace metals such as aluminum. So in some respects the performance savings of new materials for airlines are offset by higher support costs, although the greater durability of composites should mean fewer maintenance events.

Carbon fiber composites are the most important composite materials for wide-body aircraft CR929. And as the most authoritative industry conference in China, 6th Annual China Aeronautical Materials and Process Summit (CAMPS2018) is going to set up two plates specifically which is about the development trend of China's future wide-body aircraft and the lightweight structure for advanced civil aircraft in designing and manufacturing. Furthermore, this time we received Chengdu Government¡¯s support. On behalf of the organizing committee, we sincerely invite you to participate in this forum. In 6th Annual China Aeronautical Materials and Process Summit (CAMPS2018), you will get further information about the future demands of CR929.

For more details, please pay your attention on the upcoming 6th Annual China Aeronautical Materials and Process Summit (CAMPS2018), which will be held in the city of Chengdu, on September 12th - 13th, 2018.

Click Register for more detailed information of the event.

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