Ongoing research into new composite materials is expected to yield major enhancements in performance, weight and cost for the aerospace industry in the coming years. New ways of laying up carbon fiber, such as weaving, are already enabling more complex shapes. Thermoplastic resins are making manufacturing easier, and the practice of integrating several functions into one part is reducing part counts.
Manufacturers are relying more on composite materials for business aircraft construction thanks to a drop in manufacturing costs and better automation. Largely because of improved curing processes, OEMs are gradually eliminating expensive tooling and slashing the overall number of parts needed for a given aerostructure.