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COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS OF COMPOSITES Stewart N. Loud 43.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter describes the use of composites for industrial and commercial applications, which perhaps is best described as 'Miscellaneous' or 'All Other Applications'. It is an overview of the myriad number of appli- cations that cannot always be neatly grouped into major sectors as with transportation, marine, aerospace/defense, sports, and the like. Briefly described are representative appli- cations, the benefits offered by composites, highlights of the primary materials and processes, and some conclusions about the approximate market size for this extremely diverse market sector. No attempt is made to define the technology of the materials and processes, as these are well covered in other chapters. 43.2 HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE Advanced composites (typically produced using high-performance fibers and/or resins) historically have been dominant in the aero- space and defense sectors and in many sporting goods products. Hand lay-up with autoclave molding have been the major processes used for part fabrication. Engineered composites applications for several decades have been fabricated predominantly from Handbook of Composites. Edited by S.T. Peters. Published in 1998 by Chapman & Hall, London. ISBN 0 412 54020 7 43 materials such as E-glass fiber reinforcements, and polyester, some of the low-temperature performing epoxies, or a variety of engineering thermoplastic resins, usually referred to as fiberglass-reinforced plastics or FRP (or in Europe, GRP). Processes used have been mainly the hand lay-up, compression, injec- tion, filament winding and pultrusion methods. Most unit volumes for advanced composites range from the hundreds of units per year to a few thousand, unlike the tens of thousands of units typical with automotive parts. Some of the most mature FRP applica- tions (yet still with solid growth rates) include electrical insulating sheet and sheet molding compound (SMC), bulk molding compound insulators, glass fabric reinforced electronic printed circuit boards, pultruded items such as ladders, filament wound electrical tubing, thermoset SMC and injection molded thermo- plastic business equipment and appliance housings, hand lay-up antennas, and others. This base of FRP applications has been used as a launching platform for a huge diversity of new applications. Many now utilize the more advanced fibers and resin systems or hybrids of these material systems. 43.3 PROGRESS With the slowdown in worldwide defense spending during the early 1990s, numerous producers have looked to new market oppor- tunities for growth, especially for advanced
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932 Commercial and industrial applications of composites fiber and resin products, and increasingly to hybrids of several materials. As a result, advanced and hybrid fiber reinforced prod- ucts are now moving into the application sectors formerly dominated by metals and even glass fiber products. Also, the focus on ’defense conversion’ has resulted in retarget- ing of some governmental budgets to support
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This note was uploaded on 03/16/2010 for the course MECHANICAL ME765401 taught by Professor Prof.sulis during the Spring '10 term at Institut Teknologi Bandung.

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