Friday, January 8th, 2010
|Photo Credit: Boeing Image|
While getting dinner ready one night last month I had the TV news on. Among the top stories was the announced maiden test flight of Boeing’s Dreamliner 787. As a tall, frequent flyer, my first thought was, “ I hope this behemoth is configured with more passenger leg room.” I’m tired of “eating” my knees when flying.
Well no, they didn’t mention more leg room, but they did highlight the fact that this technological wonder was built with carbon fiber reinforced plastic – a very strong, durable, lightweight composite material that delivers superior performance and is energy efficient. Given that I work in the plastics industry, that bit of broadcasting genius made me feel proud.
Perfect for reducing fuel consumption, carbon fiber reinforced plastic is a favorite material of the aerospace and automotive (think – Ferrari, Corvette, Porsche) industries. But it is also used to construct reinforced bridges, sailboats, bicycles, fishing rods, tennis racquets, computers, stringed instrument bodies (think Nashville) and much more. Back in September, we blogged about it being the choice material for wind turbine rotor blades. Even the Boy Scouts can earn a merit badge in composite materials. Who knew?!
Boeing plans to deliver the first completed Dreamliner 787 in the fourth quarter of 2010. And they have orders pending for 840 more of these winged giants. So it looks like I will have a wait before I can personally find out if my “leg-room” wish is fulfilled. In the meantime, I’ll keep my kneepads in my travel bag.