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How Glass Fiber is Making Airplanes Safer

Posted by Craig Barry on Aug 2, 2017 9:18:00 AM

How Glass Fiber is Making Airplanes Safer.jpeg

Fiberglass has been a game-changer for the aviation industry. From aircrafts comprised almost entirely of composite materials to the limitless abilities of fiberglass tape, few areas of air travel have yet to be improved by advancements in glass fiber technology.

It’s easy to see how glass fiber is making airplanes faster, lighter, and cheaper. But is it making them safer? You might be surprised to find out the ways in which fiberglass actually makes air travel more dependable.

Fiberglass Reduces Weight
Fiberglass plane bodies weigh less than traditional aluminum planes. This holds true for the internal components of planes, too. Fiberglass is now used to reduce the weight of everything from airplane chairs to lavatories to overhead bins; reduced weight makes any of these items less risky in the event of a crash or hard landing. Because fiberglass can be molded, construction of these components also requires fewer pieces, lessening the risk of harmful shards flying throughout the cabin during turbulence.

Loads are Dispersed Via Fiberglass
Glass fiber composites are inherently strong. The core material of a component (such as a wing) surrounded by fiberglass gives strength; poured resin keeps the fibers in place so they can provide additional tensile strength to the component holistically. In this way, when a load is applied to a structure reinforced by glass fibers, the stress is dispersed to its outer surfaces. The weave of the fiberglass dictates its strength threshold, but incorporating it into airplanes makes for stronger, more resilient movement in the air.

Embedded Conduit Fibers Protect Against Lightning
Best practices dictate that planes should never fly through a thunderstorm when preventable. Commercial aircraft, though, don’t always have options when it comes to a sudden storm. When lightning strikes a plane, it typically creates a “circuit” which travels from one extremity to another along the fuselage and exits the plane without harm. Airplane bodies made of fiberglass that’s been reinforced with fiber screens or conductive fibers help the lightning travel safely over and away from the plane in one fluid motion.

Fiberglass is Long-Lasting and Durable
When it comes to safety, a well-maintained plane is always preferable to a plane that’s been left in disrepair. Glass fiber provides significant advantages over some traditional aircraft materials like metal; it doesn’t crack from metal fatigue, it won’t corrode, and it holds up well in flexing environments. Less required maintenance means less potential for maintenance mistakes or the oversight of age-related safety concerns. The less potential there is for human error, the safer everyone involved.

B&W Fiberglass is proud to work with aviation experts across the world on innovative solutions for air travel. We’ve barely scratched the surface of glass fiber technology’s potential role in the airplane industry.

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Topics: Aviation