A preview of the November/December issue of Reinforced Plastics

The space sector is another one of those industries where the value of composites in replacing metals is now being widely recognised as the way forward. By lightweighting launch vehicles, larger payloads can be carried.

To this end NASA’s new heavy-lift Space Launch System is employing composite cryogenic fuel tanks. The move is considered by many experts to be a game changer. NASA is hoping for a 25% cost reduction along with a 30% weight reduction from such tanks compared with metal tanks currently used. However, developers have also been realising that as well as materials, processing techniques need updating.

This is just one example in a number of high profile projects where the search has been on for a viable alternative to autoclave processing. As larger composite parts are required at higher production rates, in many instances autoclave processing has become either impractical, too expensive, or both. On pages 14-19 of the November/ December issue George Marsh reflects on where the move towards alternatives to autoclaves has reached.

We also return to the recycling debate. Work has been ongoing at the Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science at the University of Bristol in the UK into how there can be increased reuse of automotive composites production waste. Turn to page 20 of the magazine for this feature.

A couple of important market reviews were presented at the recent International AVK Conference in Düsseldorf and we have two features on the findings of the reports. On pages 28-30 we highlight AVK’s assessment of the European GRP market in 2014, while starting on page 38 we bring you the annual review from Carbon Composites e.V. on the global carbon fibre reinforced plastics market. ♦

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