29 November Lecture – 2018

“Composites in Aerospace”

Thursday 29th November 2018

Lecture Starts at 7.30 pm
(Light Refreshments at 7.00 pm)

Speaker: Dr. Tim Swait, Technical Lead, Composites Centre, Sheffield University

Location: Lecture Theatre ‘0’, Cambridge University Engineering Department, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ.

Lecture Synopsis
The earliest aircraft were constructed of wood (a natural composite material) and canvas (linen fibres doped with a polymer lacquer). Composite materials have therefore been at the heart of aviation since its very beginning. As speeds and loads increased, metals became the material of choice throughout much of the last century.

However since the advent of carbon fibre and high performance polymer matrices, composites have been making a comeback and now carbon fibre reinforced polymers are the materials that offer the highest possible performance in strength, weight and stiffness. Modern aircraft (both civil and military) are now typically over 50% composite.

However greater uptake of composites (both within aerospace and more widely) has been largely limited by cost, particularly cost of manufacture. Manufacturing processes for composite components are conventionally slow and laborious with high levels of automation only recently becoming possible.

This lecture will provide an introduction to composite materials and their history before going into the current state of the art in modern manufacturing processes, including case studies of aerostructures from airliners to hang gliders!

The lecture titles and dates are booked well in advance but are subject to change.