When you are discussing the topic of composite tooling, you often do not think about protecting the environment. However, these two topics are actually closely connected. Any attempts in cutting down our effect on the environment depends on high quality materials and precise tooling. This makes composites a big contributor to the answers of our environmental problems. Research on our environment has provided information at the polar ice caps, giving feedback into improved design of composites.
Composites make for a better Future
As we develop better and more advanced ways to make and use composite materials, they are being used in all kinds of technology that are focused on improving the environment. These include the latest hybrid vehicles, blades for wind turbines that making a difference in cutting pollution on the planet.
A good example of this is the United States’ federal regulation on fuel economy at the corporate level and how the auto industry is responding to it. Car manufacturers are not known for their benefits to the environment, especially for American auto makers. However, the auto industry makes cars for corporate fleets, and the government is using this opportunity to impose regulation on the car manufacturers. These regulations require almost 100% improvement in fuel economy for cars used at the corporate level from the years 2011 to 2025. This is a big demand on the auto industry, and composite materials will come into play in the solution.
One major change that help improve car efficiency is by cutting down on how much a car weighs. However, they cannot just make a car smaller or take away features. Customers expect their cars to have a certain standard. By using composites, car makers will be able to make lighter bodies without compromising on the car’s strength and space. Car makers will face the challenge of keeping manufacturing costs down when using composites because better tooling design will be a big part on how they will bring this new design to fruition.
Composites have a better Future
Current research on how we can protect the environment is providing scientists with information on how they can develop better composites.
Ken Golden, who teaches math at the University of Utah, is utilizing mathematics in order to gain better understanding of the polar ice caps and how global warming affects them. Golden has led an atypical life of a mathematician and has gone to the Artics to drill cores from the ice to look at the structures of these blocks.
Ice in the ocean is affected by the salt. It is different from what is found in rivers, lakes or in drinks. This ice is porous, and sea water can move through it. In observing this characteristic, Golden is able to understand how our environment will change.
Golden’s findings are not just beneficial in understanding the planet on which we live. They help us in shaping our future. The structure found in sea ice is not different from that seen in composite materials. Golden’s math formulae in modeling the structure are being applied to many other areas. Examples of other applications are the monitoring of osteoporosis in human bones and improvements in the design of fighter jets. Golden’s work in math has many implications, including potential advancements in composites.
Manufacturing and the Environment Go Hand in Hand
People who are skeptical about climate changes in the world often dismiss research on environmental issues as a poor use of money that should be invested in other applications. However, how composite materials and the environment are connected shows that these skeptics are wrong. It is never a poor use of time when trying to improve our understanding of materials. The discoveries made by Professor Golden from the arctic ice are going to help in the development of better materials. From icecaps to improved hybrid cars, composites will lead the way.