In the world of aviation, composites may be the most significant materials. Around 1960’s saw the need of carbon fiber composite embedded in resin. None other than U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy used this material in many different applications. Major applications are particularly seen in aircraft control surfaces such as rudders, primarily controlling the movement of the airplane’s nose to the left or right directions; and ailerons, responsible for the longitudinal movement of the airplane. The pinnacle of success for the material’s application was being brought to known in public with its major participation in the production of Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner prides itself as the most innovative airplane ever invented in the history of mankind. This is the first ever airplane that uses carbon fiber in most of its parts. It is in this regard that its developer, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, boasts that the state-of-the-art airplane is the most fuel-efficient among all airliners in the world since it only consumes twenty percent less fuel than any similarly-sized planes. Since it is lighter in weight compared to other airliners, it has smaller engine, thus the need for minimal amount of fuel.
The most outstanding value the Aviation Industry has for carbon composite is that it has the ability of being strong yet light in weight. An airplane’s weight is directly proportional to its fuel consumption. So the heavier it gets, the more fuel it gets to burn. Carbon fiber seemed to be a perfect answer to the industry’s concern on this matter.
Nowadays, the use of this material has its major applications in the number one consumption of the composite – in the military. Military aircraft use an extraordinary amount of composite materials greater than other commercial passenger airlines. One good example to cite is F-22 Raptor which was introduced last December 15, 2005. It is a fighter aircraft that was designed specifically as air superiority fighter but can also function to serve in signal intelligence, electronic warfare and ground attack. The plane has more than three hundred fifty parts made of carbon composite. Because of this, F-22 Raptor prides itself with magnificent speed, stealth, precision, agility, situational awareness, and various combat capabilities, making the fighter plane the best the history of mankind has ever known.
Other military aircraft that benefitted mostly in carbon fiber are Joint Strike Fighter Plane or the F-35; and Blackhawk helicopters. So long as the aviation industry will continue to be enthusiastic on their developments using this material, the composite will remain to be the most significant material for them to use.