Saturday, August 30, 2008

Plastics Tanks

Ok, the title is misleading is several respects.

This article is really about the USAF development of the demonstration project Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft at the Lockheed Martin "Skunkworks." So, calling it plastic is a very liberal interpretation of composite materials. And, it's also a liberal use of "tanks" referring to military cargo aircraft carrying tanks. But, that also applies to the savings in the fuel tanks of cargo aircraft from the anticipated efficiencies of lighter weight.

And, why should any of this strained use of terminology about plastics and tanks even concern us. Because our community is the site of Toray Composites (America), Inc., even though the plant is not the materials supplier for the Skunkworks' ACCA.

Toray is involved with Boeing in production of the Dreamliner, which manufacturers aircraft parts in its adjacent plant. This all goes together to demonstrate the development and expansion of new technology and applications in two industries central to the economy of the region. Just as our region saw the development of aluminum plants because of the juxtaposition of plentiful power with the demand for aviation materials, so too may we experience the economic development (jobs) from the coming together of composites and aircraft.

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