Britain wants to lead another global production revolution. The rainy island that witnessed the iron age and the industrial age now wants to usher in the composites age. To that end, a national carbon composites research center has been opened in the city of Bristol. Boeing has already shown Europe the benefits of carbon composites with its Dreamliner airplane, which being lighter than steel can save a third of the fuel typically needed for commercial flights.
What’s the Big Idea?
On a wide range of products, metal is out and composites are in. Wind turbines use composites to create a lighter blade which spins faster in the same amount of wind, producing more electricity. Electric cars made of composites require lighter batteries, doubling up on efficiency. In the U.K., the composites industry has seen eight percent growth per year. It could grow even faster in the U.S. which has a larger manufacturing sector and a budding private space industry, which needs strong, light materials.