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Are Composite Planes the Future?

February 5th, 2015

Many industries are looking for ways to improve their carbon footprints, and the world of aviation is no exception. Lighter aircraft, leveraging composite materials, is one way aeronautic engineers are helping the environment through their innovative research. One study predicts that if the world’s entire stock of aircraft used composite materials, it would reduce carbon emissions by a factor of 15 percent.

Let’s take a closer look at how some engineers are researching the use of composites in aircraft design to save fuel and ultimately reduce carbon.

British Universities study Life Cycle of Composite Airplanes

That 15 percent reduction in carbon emissions noted above comes from the results of a study conducted by the UK-based Universities of Sheffield, Cambridge and University College London. Researchers analyzed data from a comprehensive life cycle assessment of composite aircraft, including the Boeing Dreamliner 787 and Airbus 350. This data was then extrapolated to take into account a worldwide fleet.

The original assessment covered everything from a plane’s manufacture through its normal usage period, and finally its disposal. The study-derived data was compared to standard aluminum-based aircraft models. While emissions are higher for composite planes during their construction, this is more than made up by their 20 percent fewer carbon emissions during flight compared to aluminum planes.

Professor in Advanced Materials Technologies at the University of Sheffield, Alma Hodzic, commented on their findings. “This study shows that the fuel consumption savings with composites far outweigh the increased environmental impact from their manufacture. Despite ongoing debates within the industry, the environmental and financial savings from composites mean that these materials offer a much better solution,” said Hodzic.

The aircraft industry as a whole hopes to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by the end of this decade. The use of aircraft created with composite materials is one of the methods that will help achieve this goal.

If innovations in aircraft design inspire you to further your career in the world of aviation, talk to the experts at The Talley Group. As one of the top engineering staffing companies in Washington State, we remain a great source for Seattle aeronautic engineering jobs. Schedule some time with us today!

Aerospace Engineering Trends you Need to Know

September 26th, 2013

No matter what specific discipline of engineering your education, background, or work experience resides, it pays to keep abreast of current engineering trends. If you aren’t directly involved in the world of aerospace, it makes no difference — new innovations here have applications across engineering as a whole. Here are a few aerospace engineering trends you need to know.

More Elaborate System Software

The system software used by airplanes is becoming more complex and functional, leading to improved two-way communication between planes and ground control. The result of this better communication is smoother landings and takeoffs that use less fuel, saving money for the airlines.

Improved Craft-to-Craft Communication

Better communication is also behind another aerospace engineering trend — this time between the aircraft themselves. Currently being developed for drones and expected to be ported to passenger aircraft shortly, this technology hopes to lessen the risk of mid-air collisions.

Big Data for Airplanes Too

Aircrafts primarily used for surveillance purposes are seeing increased emphasis placed on the extraction and analysis of the data they acquire. These “Big Data for Spy Planes” innovations are primarily the domain of the Department of Defense and their DARPA wing.

The Age of Flying Commuters

Apparently, that craft-to-craft communication technology will be needed soon, as straight out of “The Jetsons,” flying commuter technology is currently in the pipeline at many aircraft manufacturers. This technology is essentially piggybacking on some of the drone engineering currently in practice.

Aerospace Engineering Programs Growing

Education remains a vital aspect of any engineering discipline, and supporting this relative explosion in aeronautic technology innovation is a similar growth in aerospace engineering programs at the University level. Aerospace now ranks as the third most popular engineering discipline for new students.

If these aerospace engineering innovations have inspired you to take a closer look at the field, or maybe you are interested in further your career in one of the other engineering disciplines, talk to the experts at The Talley Group. One of the top engineering staffing companies in the Seattle area, they can help ensure your new career takes flight or an existing career stays aloft.

If you are looking for aerospace engineering contract jobs, contact The Talley Group today.

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