Oct 27: Panelists to Discuss the Promise—and Pitfalls—of Composites

Panelists to discuss the use of composites in manufacturing (left to right): Craig Blue, CEO, Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation; Dr. Vlastimil Kunc, Materials Engineering, Oak Ridge National Laboratory;    Russell Elkin, Baltek Inc.


Panelists to discuss the use of composites in manufacturing (left to right): Craig Blue, CEO, Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation; Dr. Vlastimil Kunc, Materials Engineering, Oak Ridge National Laboratory;     Russell Elkin, Baltek Inc. Panelists to discuss the use of composites in manufacturing (left to right): Craig Blue, CEO, Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation; Dr. Vlastimil Kunc, Materials Engineering, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Russell Elkin, Baltek Inc.

Boeing’s disclosure of the materials use in its 787 project offers a clue to the popularity of composites. The 787’s airframe comprises “nearly half carbon fiber reinforced plastic and other composites,” according to the aerospace giant. “This approach offers weight savings on average of 20% compared to more conventional aluminum designs ... The 777 composite tail is 25% larger than the 767’s aluminum tail, yet requires 35% fewer scheduled maintenance labor hours. This labor hour reduction is due to the result of a reduced risk of corrosion and fatigue of composites compared with metal.”

But working with composites may not be as straightforward as, say, building something out of plastic or steel. For a start, composites are anisotropic—that is, they do not stretch, break, or deform the same way in all different directions like traditional metal. Another challenge is the difficulty to obtain material data, something crucial if you’re pursing simulation-driven design. Composite material properties and characteristics don’t come in a handbook. Some lab testing might be required to obtain them before you can properly simulate their mechanical, thermal, and aerodynamic behaviors inside a computer-aided engineering (CAE) package.

To explore the promise—and pitfalls—of composites, we assembled the following panel for Tuesday Oct 27, 2 PM Eastern (11 AM Pacific).

  • Craig Blue, CEO, Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation
  • Dr. Vlastimil Kunc, Materials Engineering, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Russell Elkin, Baltek Inc.
I’m moderating the round-table talk, dubbed “It’s a Material World!” (My apologies to the original Material Girl Madonna.)  Other than providing the panelists with the list of issues I plan to raise, I’m not rehearsing the presentations with them. We’ll go unscripted, talk off the cuff, and say what comes to mind first. We plan to discuss 3D-printing composites, new ways to bond composites, how to simulate composite designs despite a lack of information, and more.

I hope you join us!

To register, go here.

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About the Author

Kenneth Wong's avatar
Kenneth Wong

Kenneth Wong is Digital Engineering’s resident blogger and senior editor. Email him at [email protected] or share your thoughts on this article at digitaleng.news/facebook.

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