Thursday, December 10, 2009

Composite Material vs Metal

Perhaps the first driving factor for replacing metal components with composite materials was the resistance fiber reinforced polymers have to corrosion. The marine industry began to embrace composite materials shortly after WWII, manufacturing boats impervious to the corrosive salt environment.

Today, modern metal alloys such as aluminum, titanium, and even stainless steel are used in industries, such as aerospace, where corrosion in unacceptable. Although these metals are not "prone" to corrosion, there is still the risk of galvanic corrosion, which occurs when two dissimilar metals are in contact with one another.

In fact, due to the conductive properties of carbon fiber reinforced composites, there is a growing concern in cases where metal components are interacting with carbon fiber components. This is perhaps a major issue on designing the new generation of Boeing and Airbus airframes.

Corrosion will continue to be an issue for metal products, and corrosion will continue to be a driving factor for the integration of composite materials. For a good illustration of this, here is an interesting blog post discussing how the household cleaner Simple Green can corrode aluminum.

Photo Credit: Nomads: will create via flicker

No comments:

Post a Comment