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Stronger, low-cost aircraft fiber created


United Press International September 27, 2007


DELFT, Netherlands, Sep 27, 2007 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Dutch scientists have developed aluminum fiber technology that can make aircraft wings nearly impervious to metal fatigue.


The process creates an unusual material called CentrAl -- an abbreviation of Central Reinforced Aluminum -- that also allows lower fuel consumption and a reduction of maintenance costs that could lead to worldwide savings as high as $100 billion, researchers said.


The CentrAl constructions are stronger than carbon fiber reinforced plastic materials now being used in aircraft wings such as those being produced for the Boeing 787. By using CentrAl wing constructions, researchers said weight can be reduced by 20 percent compared with the carbon fiber-reinforced plastic material.


The patented new concept is a result of collaboration between the Dutch company GTM Advanced Structures, the U.S. aluminum company Alcoa, and Delft University of Technology.


The concept is being presented this week in Delft during the Conference on Damage Tolerance of Aircraft Structures.



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