Carbon fiber specialist Hexcel reports that composites now play an essential role in the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drone, industry.

‘In recent years, the use of [UAVs] has grown tremendously not only for military applications such as surveillance and reconnaissance but also for recreational and commercial use,’ the company said. ‘For these aircraft to reach desired heights and distances with minimal engine power, they must be lightweight – and that is a requirement that advanced composites can meet better than any other material.’

On average, UAVs comprise up to 50% carbon fiber, according to Hexcel.

Since drones are unmanned, they require improved communication with ground stations or other UAVs through wireless or satellite communications. Hexcel says that its materials can be tuned to absorb certain electromagnetic frequencies and pass other frequencies.

This story uses material from Hexcel, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.