23 votes

Are some tail wheels made out of solid plastic?

You can see that sort of thing on ultralights that land at 25-30 mph where they may use a solid once-piece wheel made of some elastomeric plastic or rubber. Smaller airplanes however, will use a ...
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  • 107k
19 votes

Are composite materials, which are being widely used in newer aircraft, better at handling bird strikes?

Out of the box, no. They are worse at handling birdstrikes. But with some thought they can be made much better. All materials have an elastic range of deformation, and if that is not exceeded, they ...
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18 votes

How do GFRP and CFRP compare?

The reason for using glassfiber on radome coverings is simple: Electromagnetic transparency. Carbon fiber conducts electricity, so it will absorb much of what the antenna radiates away or "listens" ...
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17 votes

Why are longer wings with foldable wingtips used on the B777X instead of lighter ones with original size?

This explanation is given here : The wing of the 777X is based upon the design of the 787’s wing. It has less of the sweep of the 787 but 10% more surface area (increased from 4,702 to 5,562 sq. ft.)....
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  • 1,428
16 votes
Accepted

Why is an aircraft carrier's arresting cable made from steel?

The single most important thing for an arrestor cable is that it works reliably, compared to this incremental differences in weight or durability are fairly minor considerations. One of the major ...
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14 votes
Accepted

Are composite materials, which are being widely used in newer aircraft, better at handling bird strikes?

In general, the composite materials are poor compared to metals in impact resistance (in general, composites are not good in resisting compressive loads). This is because the metals and composites ...
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  • 98.7k
13 votes

Why are longer wings with foldable wingtips used on the B777X instead of lighter ones with original size?

There's a trade-off between saving weight and improving lift-to-drag ratio. In the case of the 77X, the efficiency gain of the improved lift-to-drag ratio of the longer wing outweighs the potential ...
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  • 2,359
9 votes

Why is an aircraft carrier's arresting cable made from steel?

The short answer is the cables are made from steel because that design has been tested and found suitable for the purpose. The military, and aviation in general, tends to keep using a working solution ...
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  • 67.4k
8 votes
Accepted

How are wood and canvas wings able to sustain damp and bad weather?

Wood and canvas are not meant to be used in humid conditions. All outer surfaces are painted, so they are water repellent and can sustain a shower, but when left to the elements, wooden aircraft ...
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7 votes
Accepted

What materials are used for aircraft windshields?

On light aircraft, acrylic windshields have been the norm. On higher speed aircraft, glass and laminates are used, particularly with heated windshields. The laminates may use polyvinyl butyral (PVB) ...
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  • 17.4k
6 votes
Accepted

How well does a composite fuselage deal with lightning?

In case of composite materals, the usual solution adopted for lightning protection is to have a conductive layer in the structure. Basically, this provides a continuous conductive path of low ...
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  • 98.7k
6 votes

3-D Printed Carbon Fiber UAV Skin

"Carbon fiber filament" for Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) printers doesn't have the properties you believe it does. While perhaps a little stronger than a plain filament, in comparison to ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Can UHMWP be used as composites for aircraft impact susceptible areas?

Short answer: Yes, when used properly. It does have its limits (low melting point, low adhesion with epoxy), but if you design around those limits it helps to raise energy absorption considerably. ...
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5 votes

What materials are used for aircraft windshields?

A little late but I see some points the answers above missed and feel the record needs set straight. Fixed wing military aircraft typically use thick polycarbonate plies laminated with polyurethane ...
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5 votes
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How are composite aircraft canopies constructed that sit flush with the fuselage?

That is a complicated process. You need: A positive mold (mandrel) for the canopy. A negative mold for the canopy frame. For a single prototype you can also use the unfinished fuselage itself. A ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Can composite materials be used on super-sonic aircraft?

Sure. Almost all the modern supersonic combat aircraft incorporate a significant amount of composites in their construction. For example, in case of Dassault rafale: Composite materials are ...
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  • 98.7k
5 votes
Accepted

Can delamination be detected early?

The most obvious way is to de-assemble the structure and look inside. This leaves the least amount of doubt. But there are many ways to do this without destruction. Ultrasonic: The echo of the ...
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5 votes

Can delamination be detected early?

There are multiple non-destructive methods to detect delamination in composite materials. In case the delamination occurs on the surface, it can be easily found by visual inspection. This is the ...
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  • 98.7k
5 votes

Why is an aircraft carrier's arresting cable made from steel?

Its a good question. The answer why is part technology, part economics, part life cycle reality and part bureaucracy. In short, it may be possible to build arrester pendants out of other materials ...
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4 votes

Are composite materials, which are being widely used in newer aircraft, better at handling bird strikes?

May be it's better to answer the question the other way around. There are regulations which need to be followed. This also includes bird-strikes. In order to get certified all the requirements have to ...
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  • 1,537
4 votes

Can the phrases "carbon fibre reinforced polymer composites" (CFRP) and "carbon fibre-epoxy composites" be used interchangeably?

No. Epoxy resin is more specific than the terms polymer or plastic from CFRP. CFRP does also include carbon fibre composites with other duroplastic matrix materials (e.g. phenolic resin) or even ...
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  • 51
4 votes
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How to know the material of key-top?

The part looks injection-molded. The choice of transparent, moldable polymers available in the 1950s is manageable. The most likely candidates are: PVC (back then the most widely used polymer, but ...
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3 votes
Accepted

Why were early AFRP A300/A310 rudders prone to delaminating?

You'd have to find someone with access to the original Airbus failure analysis to know the details, but in general it's more difficult to get good bonds with Kevlar laminates compared to graphite or ...
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  • 107k
3 votes

What are typical resins used in carbon fiber for aircraft? Are any resins impossible to recycle?

Currently major structural elements make the most use of bismaleimide and epoxy thermosets. PEEK thermoplastics are gaining share. There's a lot of these and other resins; one of the best-known ...
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  • 17.8k
3 votes

Why is an aircraft carrier's arresting cable made from steel?

Many of the "benefits" you listed just don't matter: It's lighter, more flexible, more durable, can tolerate more temperature extremes, is not susceptible to corrosion, and it might even be cheaper ...
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  • 28.5k
3 votes

What is the temperature of flap linkages during takeoff and landing in passenger and fighter aircraft?

Components like linkages on a wing flap system can be considered to be the local ambient temperature, subject to some lag if the plane is moving between large temperature changes, because of the time ...
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  • 107k
2 votes

Are carbon fiber/composite aircraft at greater risk from lightning?

I agree with the answer from ymb1, but I think that the underlying rationale would be useful to add as well. I've looked into lightning strike protection a little bit for a small helicopter design ...
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  • 3,621
2 votes

How to know the material of key-top?

Give the part to a machinist who works with plastics. He will touch the part to a grinding wheel, melting the plastic and making smoke. By smelling the smoke and looking at how the plastic melts, he ...
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