Demand for lighter aircraft driving aviation composites demand
Nov 14, 2012 (Menafn - AIRLINE INDUSTRY INFORMATION via COMTEX) --According to an analysis from US-based consulting and research firm Frost & Sullivan, newer aircraft programmes like B787, A380 and A350 XWB, high fleet operating costs and regulatory pressure on aviation-related carbon emissions are driving the adoption of advanced fibre composites in commercial aviation applications.
The analysis is called Strategic Analysis of the Global Aviation Composites Market, and is available at http://chemicals.frost.com. It finds that the market earned revenues of USD 178.5m in 2011 and estimates this to reach USD 413.9m in 2018.
Controlling aircraft production costs as well as lowering delivery times is the top priority for aircraft OE, according to the report This, paralleled by rising fuel prices, is making it imperative for OEMs to not only boost the fuel efficiency of an aircraft (by making it lightweight and using efficient engines), but also to enable a faster processing window for materials integration into the aircraft structure.
Replacing metal with composites in an aircraft can lead to up to 40 per cent reduction in weight. This translates to higher fuel efficiency and, consequently, lower operating costs.
In addition, advanced fibre composites provide a better alternative to metals due to their higher impact resistance, which essentially means improved safety. From an economic perspective, these advanced composites are ideal for larger, wide-body aircraft.
However, high fabrication costs, substitution threat from metals and metal-matrix composites, difficulties related to repair and recyclability as well as the lack of material standardisation are restraining the uptake of advanced fibre composites in commercial aviation applications.
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