Leaders in the composites industry stressed that not only can composites replace traditional materials and change the way things are made, but also provide sustainable, durable and cost-efficient solutions to aerospace, defence and transportation markets.
Over the course of the event, ACMA members advocated for more federal funds in R&D, acquisitions of composites and for policy changes aimed at reducing market barriers to allow composites to be more competitive against traditional materials. The US military has led the way with the development of FRP composites beginning with radomes in World War II. Since then, composites have been widely used in strengthening ballistic resistance in protective armour and military construction and in lightweighting combat and transport vehicles such as MRAPs.
“The key elements of these events are to educate our lawmakers on the benefits of composites, giving them the understanding of what composites are,” explains Tom Dobbins, President and CEO of ACMA. “Once our lawmakers understand the advantages of composites and the innovations they can bring, especially in terms of lifecycle costs and sustainability, in transportation and defence, they will most likely demand that composites be considered when building equipment and products.”
“Composites will drive the 21st century to be the composite century, in the same way that the 20th century was the steel century,” he adds.
Participants in the Transportation and Defence Policy Fly-In had the opportunity to converse directly with leaders in federal markets about how composites fit into their strategic objectives. The first panel explored the role of composites in the modernisation of the US military. The second panel focused on composites in the future of transportation in mobility.
Following the fly-in, ACMA anticipates accelerating research on advanced composite applications, continued promotion of composite recycling solutions, and further emphasis on the benefits of innovative materials solutions to modernising transportation and defence products for military and civilian applications.
ACMA’s next event on Capitol Hill, the fourth annual Infrastructure Day, will take place 13-14 February 2019. Registration opens October 2018.