3D Composites: Opportunities & Challenges

B.S. Sugun, Ramesh Sundaram


3D composites are creating a furore among the composites community, especially the aeronautics, space and defense sectors. Literature reports on 3D composites discuss a wide spectrum of 3D technologies encompassing weaving, stitching, braiding, tufting etc., that are at various stages of development and implementation. Choice of technology for a particular end use is based on various factors such as need, problem to be addressed, expected performance requirement, practicality of development and the like. Two broad areas of application for 3D composites are in the structural and thermal segments. Opportunities for 3D composites exist in the form of performance improvements for components having multidirectional stress states, simplified & radically different designs, reduced part count and reduced labor cost. Challenges that need to be addressed include achieving a balance between in-plane & out-of-plane properties, processing issues for thick & compact 3D structures, out-of-plane testing approaches and integration challenges with metal/2D composites. This paper reviews the current status and looks at what the future has to offer for this upcoming technology.

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