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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 8:44 EDT

Latest Brian L. Wardle Stories

2011-03-25 12:12:49

In recent years, many airplane manufacturers have started building their planes from advanced composite materials, which consist of high-strength fibers, such as carbon or glass, embedded in a plastic or metal matrix. Such materials are stronger and more lightweight than aluminum, but they are also more difficult to inspect for damage, because their surfaces usually don't reveal underlying problems. "With aluminum, if you hit it, there's a dent there. With a composite, oftentimes if you hit...