Fiber reinforced plastics – also known as composites – have been attracting enormous media interest over the last few months, especially in lightweight construction. Whenever a conference or tradeshow is held on mobility or lightweight construction, composites are nearly always included. The talks and presentations are accompanied by a steadily increasing number of press releases and/or articles in the relevant professional media, and indeed elsewhere. Composites seem to have ‘arrived’ in the industry.
Quite often the focus is on the spectacular lightweight construction options that characterize carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CRPs) whenever the design is right and this kind of construction matches the material. Public perception and, to some extent, also widespread use of CRPs have so far been particularly strong in racing, aerospace, sports and leisure. Carbon bicycle frames, for instance, are now very common in recreational sports. Partly thanks to increasing serial production in aerospace and endeavors by many OEMs to use CRPs in automotive serial production, these high-performance materials seem to have conquered the ‘mass market’.
This article appeared in the Jan/Feb issue of Reinforced Plastics.