Composite Material, or composites for short, first use dates back to the 1500s B.C. when early Egyptians and Mesopotamian settlers used a mixture of mud and straw to create strong and durable buildings. If you're not a history buff, maybe you're more familiar with modern composites such as vinyl and polyester (plastics). another example includes Surfboards, which are made with fiberglass, also a composite. In the 70s, DuPont developed an aramid fiber known as Kevlar, this fiber has become the standard in armor due to its high tenacity. According to Wikipedia, composites are "engineered or naturally occurring materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties which remain separate and distinct within the finished structure."
I caught up with Ed Bernardon, vice president of Strategic Automotive Initiatives, Specialized Engineering Software, at PLM Connections (#PLMCONX) in Las Vegas last week to learn about composites specifically in the Automotive Industry.
It makes complete sense that the Automotive makers and suppliers would use composites to make cars lighter, safer, stronger, more durable, help with fuel efficiency and reduce cost.
In this video, I asked Ed several questions:
1) Why have working with composites become of interest to the automotive industry? 2) How are the challenges faced by the automotive industry different from other industries, such as aerospace, where composites were first introduced? 3) What are the challenges of working with composites versus metal for the automotive industry? 4) In your presentation, you talked about the importance of using a master model. Can you describe how a master model works and the benefits that accrue from using one? 5) How does Fibersim composites engineering software add value for the automotive companies?