The use of composite materials has become common, if not required in aircraft design. When Boeing rolled out its new 787 Dreamliner in 2012, it boasted that the aircraft was 50 percent composite material. New aircraft rolling off the line today almost all incorporate some type of composite material into their designs.
The strength to weight advantages as well as the opportunity to consolidate components, to precisely control part loading and to innovate shapes to address capacity, and other performance concerns are primary incentives for their use.
Conversely, cost of materials and manufacturing methods post the key drawback to employing these composites more broadly. Digital patterning and production automation technologies provide a simple way for aircraft manufacturers to address these challenges.