Professor Alan K.T. Lau, Professor of Department of Mechanical Engineering was invited by the Royal Aeronautical Society (ReAS), Hong Kong Branch to deliver a lecture on “Modern Advanced Composites Technologies for Aircraft Design” on 25 March 2013 at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. This seminar attracted over 70 participants who are working in the aircraft maintenance and aviation industry.
Advanced composite materials such as glass and carbon fibre reinforced polymers are extensively used in modern aircraft due to their advantages of high strength-to-weight ratio, non-corrosive characteristics and multi-functionality. The use of these materials in the aircraft industry also enables to reduce flight vehicle mass and thereby fuel use and carbon emissions during in-flight operation. Due to an increasing use of these materials, many new technologies have emerged to strengthen their properties and ensure the safety of their structures at different loading conditions.
In the seminar, several design criteria such as the consideration of atmospheric condition, thermal effects due to the change of temperature with attitude, space environment with unexpected object impact were discussed. An overview on recent composites technologies that are used to enhance the flight efficiency and safety for aircraft design were given. These technologies include but not limited to i) nanocomposites at extreme environment (medium high temperature range down to cryogenic condition); ii) smart composites for in-flight structural health monitoring and iii) green composites for interior structural component design and applications. Their manufacturability, repair-ability and durability were also discussed.