Composite Materials in Model Airplane Construction

Any miniature version of a real airplane is referred to as a model airplane. Model airplanes come in a wide variety of designs and may serve a variety of functions. Some are straightforward plastic figurines designed to adorn mantelpieces, while others are propelled by gas or electricity and capable of taking to the air. 

A model airplane can be built of plain plastic, die-cast metals, or, for more expensive models that fly by remote control, composite materials like graphite or plastic that are then “doped” to increase the plane’s aerodynamic properties.

It’s not as simple as you might think to learn to fly, but once you do, it can often become a lifetime hobby that pays off handsomely. There are many different specializations you may advance into, including helicopters, scale models, aerobatic models, float aircraft, gliders, and more.

Brief overview of model airplane construction

Small, unmanned aircraft are known as models. Many are exact copies of genuine airplanes. The two main categories of model aircraft are flying and non-flying. Static, display, or shelf models are other names for non-flying models.

The variety of flying models includes everything from easy toy gliders made of paper, balsa, card stock, or foam polystyrene to powered scale models constructed from balsa, bamboo sticks, plastic (including both molded or sheet polystyrene, and Styrofoam), metal, and synthetic resin, either alone or with carbon fiber or fiberglass, and skinned with either tissue paper, mylar, and other materials. Some can be rather enormous, particularly when used to study a potential full-scale aircraft’s flying characteristics.

red model aircraft with pilot

Flying models are built considerably different from most static models since they must be created using the same design principles as real aircraft. Although they rarely use metal structures, flying models often use construction methods from vintage full-sized aircraft. These methods might include using thin strips of light wood, like balsa, to create the model’s frame, covering it with fabric, and then doping the fabric to create a frame that is both light and airtight. Fabric can be replaced with extremely thin paper for models that are exceedingly light. Alternately, heat-curing plastic films (also known as “solarfilm” or “heat shrink covering”) can be ironed on; using a hand-held iron causes the film to contract and stick to the frame.

The usage of formers and longerons for the fuselage and spars and ribs for the wing and tail surfaces are examples of homegrown model construction techniques. Instead, more durable designs sometimes utilize full sheets of wood or a composite wing that consists of an expanded polystyrene core coated in a protective veneer of wood, frequently obechi. Such features are significantly more likely to be present in a power model than a glider, and they tend to be heavier than an equivalent-sized model constructed following the conventional technique.

The lightest variants are appropriate for indoor, windless flying. Some of them are produced using balsa wood and carbon fiber frames that are submerged in water and used to gather up thin plastic films that resemble oil-based rainbow-colored films. Indoor flying is now more easily available to enthusiasts because to the development of “foamies,” or craft injection-molded from lightweight foam and occasionally reinforced with carbon fiber. Many are delivered ready to fly and just need the wing and landing gear attached. 

Flying models can be constructed from kits or from scratch using published blueprints. Plans are meant for more seasoned modelers because every component must be purchased separately. Most of the raw materials needed to construct an unassembled plane are included in the kit, along with a set of (often complex) assembly instructions and a few replacement components to account for builder mistake. A model that is built from plans or a kit might require a lot of effort. The builder often spends several hours putting the model together, covering it, and polishing/refining the control surfaces to ensure proper alignment. Additionally, the kit lacks the essential tools, which must be acquired individually. Last but not least, a single oversight during construction might jeopardize the model’s airworthiness and cause catastrophe.

Vendors of model aircraft produced Almost-Ready-To-Fly (ARF) designs to allay fears and make the pastime more accessible to the rookies and uninterested alike. An ARF design requires less time, expertise, and equipment to build the model than a conventional kit does. Compared to standard kit aircraft, which need 10–20+ hours of effort on average, ARF aircraft may often be constructed in less than 4 hours. In more recent times, radio control aircraft that are “Ready-To-Fly” (RTF) have almost removed the need for model configuration choices. RTF models are a critical topic among conventional hobbyist builders since many of them see model assembling as being essential to the hobby. Great Planes, Hobbico, Carl Goldberg Products, Lanier RC, E-Flite, Hangar 9, GWS, HobbyZone, and ParkZone are brands connected to these kinds of aircraft.

Importance of materials used

Model aircraft are just like any other kind of flying vehicle, no matter how big or little. “It will fly better the lighter it is built,” as the saying goes.  

Choosing the right material to make a model is a crucial consideration. Options include wood, plastic, paper, diecast, and metal, among others. Depending on how one intends to construct their airplane, each kind has particular benefits and drawbacks that must be considered.


Wood is the initial selection. Although it is strong and often simple to deal with, wood may also be hefty. For those who wish to make a model that resembles the genuine thing, it is a wonderful choice.


Given this, it is simple to comprehend why balsa wood has been the go-to material for model airplane construction ever since it first became widely accessible in the United States in the late 1920s. Due to its exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, enthusiasts may build robust models that fly incredibly realistically. Balsa may be easily cut, molded, and adhered using basic hand tools and is a good shock and vibration absorber.


Another typical material for model airplanes is plastic. Although it is lightweight and simple to mold into any shape, plastic is extremely delicate. It is thus a fantastic choice for individuals who are just getting started with model airplane construction.


If you’re aiming to make a little model, paper is the lightest material you can use. Additionally, it is simple to work with and can be folded and cut into any form. It is not advised for larger models since it is not very strong.


A wonderful choice for people looking for a detailed model is diecast. Although it is heavier than other materials, it is also incredibly robust. Diecast models are a popular choice for collectors since they can frequently be produced to resemble the genuine thing.


Small models shouldn’t use metal because it is the heaviest material because of its weight. It can, however, be used to build big, intricate constructions and is highly robust. For those who want their model to seem realistic, it is also a wonderful choice.

The perfect reading material for you will depend on your tastes and goals. Be sure to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each material before choosing. Given the variety of alternatives, you may choose a material that suits your needs.

Introduction to composite materials

The concept of composite airplane manufacturing is not new. Fiberglass has long been used in the construction of gliders. There have been improvements in design throughout the history of aviation. Technology evolved from timber constructions wrapped in cloth to welded steel frameworks, then aluminum, and finally back to wooden structures. Strength and aircraft performance were designed-improved when each style of construction was launched. 

Another development in the aviation sector is composite construction. Numerous components found on the majority of airplanes have been and are now manufactured using fiberglass fabrication. Of fact, a lot of the airplanes we see now are made virtually entirely of composite materials. The whole aviation sector, and especially sport flying, has undoubtedly transformed as a result of composite technology.


Improved high performance structural materials are continually being developed as a result of the aerospace industry’s and manufacturers’ relentless ambition to increase the performance of commercial and military aircraft. One such group of materials that is used extensively in both present-day and future aircraft components is composite material. Because of their remarkable strength- and stiffness-to-density ratios and great physical characteristics, composite materials are particularly appealing for use in aviation and aerospace applications.

Fibrous composites

In a tough resin matrix, somewhat stiff, strong fibers make up a composite material. Both wood and bone are made of natural composite materials: cellulose fibers in a lignin matrix make up wood, while hydroxyapatite particles in a collagen matrix make up bone. Carbon- and glass-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP and GFRP, respectively), which are more well-known artificial composite materials used in the aerospace and other industries, are composed of stiff and strong (for their densities) but brittle carbon and glass fibers and a polymer matrix that is tough but not particularly stiff or strong. To put it simply, a composite material with the majority or all of the advantages (high strength, stiffness, toughness, and low density) is generated with few or none of the weaknesses of the individual component materials when components with complimentary features are combined in this manner.

Particulate composites

Fibrous composite materials, like CFRP and GFRP, also fall within the category of particle composites. Examples of particulate composites are metal matrix composites (MMC), which are currently being developed for the aviation and aerospace sector and typically consist of non-metallic particles in a metallic matrix, such as silicon carbide particles coupled with aluminum alloy.

Differences between fibrous and particulate composites

The directionality of characteristics is likely the most significant distinction between fibrous and particle composites, as well as between fibrous composites and traditional metallic materials. Particulate composites and traditional metallic materials are anisotropic, meaning that their properties (strength, stiffness, etc.) vary depending on the direction of the load relative to the orientation of the fibers. Fibrous composites are isotropic.

Imagine bending (and breaking) a little sheet of balsa wood along a line parallel to the fibers rather than perpendicular to the fibers. To counteract this anisotropy, layers with fibers oriented at various angles are stacked on top of one another to create laminates, which are frequently only a few hundredths of a millimeter thick. The laminate will still be anisotropic, barring really exceptional circumstances, but the degree of variation in characteristics with regard to direction will be less dramatic.

In the majority of aerospace applications, this strategy is expanded upon and the variously oriented layers—which can range in number from a few to several hundred—are stacked in a particular order to customize the laminate’s characteristics to best handle the stresses to which it will be subjected. In this method, weight may be reduced, which is important in constructing model aircrafts since it saves on material.

Why Composite Materials in Model Airplane Construction?

Composites are collections of materials that, when combined, preserve each other’s integrity and quality. They complement one another and offer structural benefits that increase the aircraft’s robustness and performance. 

Compared to the more prevalently used aluminum, composite materials are more lightweight, less corrosive, and more resistant to fatigue failure. This results in increased cargo capacity and better fuel economy, which lowers total operating costs. Composite materials offer higher long-term cost reductions than metal, but being more expensive initially.

Although conventional materials require more upkeep, composites are more expensive to replace when they do.  Composites have the drawback of not degrading biologically. However, due to their durability, they do have a little beneficial environmental impact.

Advantages over traditional materials

High strength, low weight, rust-free, and durability are the features of composite materials that set them apart from traditional materials.

Composite materials provide strength

Composites may be created and then constructed to offer strength in certain directions, whereas metal has an equal strength in all directions.

The proportion of resin to reinforcing material (i.e., fiber) affects a composite’s strength. Since there are so many resins and reinforcing options, any strength need may be met using formulations.

Reinforcements provide strength. The resin matrix is made stronger by reinforcements. Although a composite construction normally uses a single type of resin matrix throughout, there are three places where reinforcements can be added to the laminate. A synthetic surfacing veil made of fiberglass can be used to reinforce a laminate’s inside surface.

The succeeding layer is thicker and is made of chopped fiberglass, which gives the veil layer strong backup.

The thickest layer is the last one. Fiberglass reinforcements are commonly included in this structural layer. These reinforcements (65% reinforcement and 35% resin) provide the structural layer a high glass content. Fabrics, choppable reinforcements, or direct draw, single-end rovings can all be used to make this final layer.

Composites are lightweight

Many industries, including transportation, aircraft, and infrastructure, depend on strong, lightweight parts. Carbon fiber is a strong choice for these businesses as a result. For contrast, aluminum weighs around 30% more than carbon fiber and steel weighs 75% more.

Lightweight materials are crucial to model aircraft’s speed. The weight of the aircraft is a constant issue for designers because if it is heavy, it cannot go at the speeds that a lighter aircraft can. Today, some aircraft contain more composite parts than metal parts.

Composites Are Corrosion Resistant

The protection of the fibers that they surround is one of the major purposes of the resins used in composites.  Contrary to metals, composites may be made to withstand chemically aggressive conditions, temperature changes, and other environmental effects (such as UV exposure). The two main corrosion-resistant resins used nowadays are epoxy vinyl ester resins and isophthalic resins.

Distinctive composite formulations are defense against: 

  • Acidic environments
  • Caustic solutions
  • High temperatures/Hot environments
  • Chemical oxidization
  • Alkaline environments
  • Exposure to UV rays
  • Water environments
  • Isophthalic resins are resistant to chemicals and heat, which is why these resins are frequently used while creating aircraft

The highest resistance against heat, corrosion, and water penetration is provided by epoxy vinyl ester resins. To produce corrosion-resistant composites for cars, planes, pipelines, tanks, and marine vehicles, epoxy vinyl ester resins are frequently utilized.

Composites’ flexibility is very useful since it enables materials to be molded into intricate designs. Composites may be tailored to fit a variety of criteria since they are made up of a mixture of resins, additives, and reinforcing fibers. These composites can also be utilized to add certain qualities and enhance attractiveness. These composites may be used for everything from wind blades to the construction of vehicles.

Composites Are Durable

Due to their remarkable dimensional stability, composites may keep their form despite external environmental influences. Composites also withstand stress well and are UV radiation resistant.

Additionally, composite structures require less upkeep, and the buildings made from composite materials have a very long lifespan. Nevertheless, because original structures made 50 years ago are still in use today, it is challenging to estimate a composite’s true lifespan.

How it revolutionizes model airplane construction

The model aircraft composites market is playing a crucial role in fostering innovation and influencing the future as the aerospace modelling goes through a considerable shift. Composites, made of high-performance components like carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP), are transforming the development and production of airplanes.

Model aircraft composites are perfect for crucial applications because they combine lightweight capabilities with high strength and remarkable durability. Composites contribute to improved fuel economy, higher cargo capacity, and expanded range by lowering the weight of aircraft structures.

Model aircraft composites also provide exceptional resistance to corrosion, fatigue, and high temperatures, which increases the durability and dependability of aircraft parts. For airlines and aircraft manufacturers, this results into decreased maintenance costs and better operating effectiveness.

The desire for next-generation model aircraft with increased performance capabilities is a major driver of the market for model aircraft composites. In unmanned small aircrafts, composites are becoming the material of choice for structural components, interior fittings, engine parts, and more.

Model aircraft composites not only provide performance benefits, but they also present prospects for being environmentally friendly. The emphasis on environmentally friendly solutions is in line with sustainability objectives through eco-friendly technologies.

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Types of Composite Materials Used in Model Airplane Construction

Many types of reinforcement materials are available for aircraft use. Three types are used most often to build custom aircraft. These are fiberglass, carbon fiber, and Kevlar.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is a substance made of carbon atoms linked together in long chains to form thin, strong crystalline filaments. The fibers are utilized in several procedures to produce top-notch structural materials since they are incredibly stiff, robust, and light. Graphite or carbon fiber is an extremely powerful reinforcing material. Golf clubs and sailboat masts both utilize it. Low weight, high strength, and high stiffness are all qualities of carbon fibers.

To make carbon fiber composite components, black “Tows” (carbon fiber strands or skeins) are produced. Tows come in a number of formats, including spools of tow, unidirectional formats, weaves, braids, and others.

There are more categories of further refinement within each of these forms. For instance, the characteristics of the composite item may change depending on the carbon fiber weave.


A fiberglass is a type of fiber-reinforced plastic in which the reinforced plastic is made of glass fiber. This may be the cause of fiberglass’ other names, glass reinforced plastic and glass fiber reinforced plastic. Typically, the glass fiber is woven into a cloth, randomly distributed, or flattened into a sheet. The glass fibers used in fiberglass can be manufactured from a variety of glass types depending on its intended function.

Fiberglass is less brittle, robust, and lightweight. The finest feature of fiberglass is its versatility in intricate form molding. This explains the widespread usage of fiberglass in bathtubs, boats, airplanes, roofs, and other materials.

Various weaves are also available for fiberglass. There are two words used: unidirectional and bi-directional. Simply said, unidirectional refers to the longitudinal direction of all the glass fibers. Parallel to the glass fibers-running threads are used to hold them together. A bi-directional fabric has the same number of fibers running longitudinally and transversely. The weave’s kind is then determined. There are several weaves available, including plain, basket, satin, twill, and others. Additionally, fiberglass is offered in a range of weights, from under 1 ounce per square yard to over 10 ounces per square yard.


Kevlar composite

Kevlar is a material that is extremely durable and strong. It is a component in bulletproof vests. In applications requiring resistance to abrasion and puncture, Kevlar is particularly successful. However, because to its handling challenges and relatively poor compression strength, its application in fundamental constructions is frequently restricted.

Kevlar is a synthetic fiber with several industrial uses that has attracted attention from all around the world. It functions as a strong composite material when utilized most frequently in conjunction with other materials. The Kevlar monomer, which is also known by its chemical name poly (p-phenylene terephthalamide), has 14 carbon atoms, ten hydrogen atoms, two nitrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms. From bicycle tires to aerospace applications, Kevlar is used in a wide range of products. The ranges in which Kevlar fibers are graded depend on the applications.

3.1 Carbon Fiber in Model Airplane Construction

Due primarily to their high stiffness to weight ratio and high specific strength, carbon fibers are employed extensively in structural applications. Carbon fibers may often be divided into three groups: High strength, High modulus, and Intermediate modulus.

A polymer that has undergone a carbonization procedure yields an organic precursor that is used to create carbon fibers. PAN fibers make up the majority of carbon fibers used in automotive and aerospace applications. Pitch is a different kind of carbon fiber, however it is used less frequently.


Carbon fiber is extraordinarily rigid, light, and strong. 

The strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios of materials are frequently compared in engineering, particularly in structural design where an increase in weight may lead to greater lifetime costs or lower performance.

To create composites, different types of carbon fibers are often mixed with polymeric substances (matrices). It transforms into a sophisticated carbon fiber-incorporated polymer composite, which has a very high specific strength and is highly stiff even though with little brittleness, when impregnated with readily accessible appropriate plastic resin and molded. In order to create superior-performing carbon-carbon composites, which often have higher characteristics and performance, carbon fibers are typically blended with other pertinent carbon components.

Carbon fiber’s elastic modulus and tensile strength

The modulus of elasticity is used to gauge a material’s stiffness. This and Spring Rate, a measure of spring stiffness, are highly comparable. It is computed by dividing the stress change by the strain change. Carbon fiber generally has a modulus of 33 msi (228 Gpa) and an ultimate tensile strength of 500 ksi (3.5 Gpa).

Ratio of Stiffness to Weight

The elastic modulus of plain-weave carbon fiber reinforced laminate is around 8 msi, and its volumetric density is about 0.05 lbs/in3. This material has a stiffness-to-weight ratio of 160 x 106. In contrast, aluminum has a density of 0.10 lbs/in3 and a stiffness to weight ratio of 100 x 106. 4130 steel has a density of 0.30 lbs/in3 and a stiffness to weight ratio of 100 x 106. As a result, even a simple carbon fiber panel with a plain weave has a stiffness-to-weight ratio that is 60% higher than that of aluminum or steel.

Advantages of carbon fiber include:

  • High stiffness and weight-to-stiffness ratio
  • High strength-to-weight ratio and tensile strength
  • Tolerance to high temperatures using specific resins
  • Minimal thermal expansion
  • Increased chemical resistance
  • When their strength-to-weight ratios are compared, carbon fiber outperforms steel. Despite having the same elastic modulus of 200 GPa, steel weighs five times more than carbon fiber. Since carbon fiber has a high strength-to-weight ratio, it may be preferred in many applications.


Even though carbon fiber is regarded as a lightweight material in the full-size world, using it to reduce weight on a model airplane is still quite difficult.  Due to its high price, carbon fiber is often only used in high-performance applications. Carbon fiber has the following applications:

Aerospace Industry

Everything from tiny drones to passenger airplanes and satellites are all referred to as being in the aerospace business. For this business, as with many others, carbon fiber’s weight is its most crucial characteristic. The aerospace sector rapidly started investigating carbon fiber as a possible alternative for titanium and aluminum in specific types of components. This interest was mostly sparked by carbon fiber’s higher strength-to-weight ratio when compared to other metals. Companies save millions of dollars in fuel annually for each aircraft because to the use of lightweight materials in the building of commercial airplanes. The weight of certain modern aircraft has been decreased by up to 20% because to the usage of carbon fiber.

Most aircraft structures, including the fuselage, empennage, nose cones, and rotor blades, are made of carbon fiber. Using carbon fiber in airplanes has the disadvantage of Barely Visible Impact Damage (BVID). Damage known as BVID, which is little or never visible to the human eye, is one of the most frequent damage types in all composites. This is a serious issue since hidden deterioration may jeopardize a component’s safety. It takes a lot of practice and testing to be able to detect BVID.

Composite materials

The class of materials known as carbon fiber or graphite reinforced polymers is one in which carbon fiber is most frequently employed to strengthen composite materials. The matrix for carbon fibers can also be made of non-polymer materials. Carbon has had very modest success in metal matrix composite applications because of the development of metal carbides and concerns about corrosion. In high-temperature applications, reinforced carbon-carbon (RCC), which is made of graphite reinforced with carbon fibers, is employed structurally. The fiber is also used as a filter for high-temperature gases, as an electrode with excellent corrosion resistance and large surface area, and as an anti-static component. Because a thick, compact coating of carbon fibers effectively reflects heat, molding a thin layer of carbon fibers increases fire resistance of polymers or thermoset composites by a substantial amount.


Pitch, rayon, and polyacrylonitrile (PAN) are precursors of carbon fibers. The direct applications of carbon fiber filament yarns include pre-impregnating (prepregging), filament winding, pultrusion, weaving, braiding, etc. Weight per unit length (1 g/1000 m = 1 tex) or the number of filaments per yarn count, measured in thousands, are the two ways that carbon fiber yarn is graded. For instance, carbon fiber yarn made of 200 tex for 3,000 filaments is three times as strong as yarn made of 1,000 carbon filaments, but it is also three times heavier. The weaving of a carbon fiber filament fabric or textile may then be done using this thread. The linear density of the yarn and the weave pattern both affect how this cloth looks. Twill, satin, and plain weaves are a some of the most popular varieties. Another way to use carbon filament yarns is to knit or braid them.


To create carbon-fiber microelectrodes, carbon fibers are employed. A single carbon fiber with a diameter of 5-7 m is typically sealed inside a glass capillary for this application. [21] At the tip, the capillary is either sealed with epoxy and polished to create a carbon-fiber disk microelectrode or the fiber is cut to a length of 75-150 m to create a carbon-fiber cylinder electrode. For the detection of biochemical signaling, carbon-fiber microelectrodes are employed in fast-scan cyclic voltammetry or amperometry.

Flexible heating

Despite having a reputation for being electrically conductive, carbon fibers can only support extremely small currents on their own. They can readily withstand temperatures beyond 100 °C when woven into bigger textiles, where they can be utilized to reliably deliver (infrared) warmth in applications requiring flexible electrical heating components. DIY heated clothes and blankets are only a few examples of this sort of use. It can be used reasonably safely with most textiles and materials because to its chemical inertness, however shorts generated by the material folding back on itself can enhance heat generation and potentially cause a fire.

3.2 Fiberglass in Model Airplane Construction

Glass fibers mixed in a resin matrix make up fiberglass, a reinforced plastic substance. In other terms, it is a fabric comprised of glass filaments that is weaved. Glass-fibre reinforced plastic (GFRP) or glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) are two frequent names for it.

Because of its great strength and relative low weight, fiberglass is well-liked. In reality, fiberglass is constructed of glass, just as windows and drinking glasses. The glass is heated until it melts and becomes liquid. Once it has reached the molten state, it is pushed through exceedingly small pores to create glass filaments that are so thin that their better unit of measurement is the micron.


Fiberglass feature a variety of exceptional and distinctive qualities that open up creative possibilities for the production of innovative, lightweight goods at affordable prices.

Textile fibers made of inorganic fiberglass won’t mold, rot, or wear out. With the exception of hydrofluoric acid and heated phosphoric acid, they can withstand most acids.

Measurement stability

Changes in atmospheric conditions will not cause the fiberglass strands used to make glass textiles to stretch or shrink. 3-4% is the nominal elongation at break. Bulk E glass has an average linear thermal expansion coefficient of 5.4 x 10-6 cm/cm/°C.

High thermal efficiency

The thermal conductivity and coefficient of thermal expansion of fiberglass textiles are both low. Asbestos or biological fibers will not disperse heat as quickly as glass textiles.

Exceptional tensile strength

There is a good strength-to-weight ratio in fiberglass yarn. Fiberglass yarn is twice as strong as steel wire, pound for pound. The flexibility of end-use products is greatly increased by the ability to include unidirectional or bidirectional strength into a fabric.

Exceptional thermal endurance

Since inorganic glass fibers cannot burn, high baking and curing temperatures that are frequently used in industrial processes have little to no impact on them. At 700°F, fiberglass retains around 50% of its strength, and at 1000°F, up to 25%.

Low absorption of moisture

Because fiberglass yarn is created from noncellular fiber, it has a very low moisture absorption rate.

Excellent electrical insulation

Fiberglass textiles excel as electrical insulators due to their strong dielectric strength, comparatively low dielectric constants, low water absorption, and great temperature resistance.

Product versatility

Fiberglass textiles are suitable for a wide range of industrial end applications because to the extremely tiny filaments employed in the yarns, the variety of yarn sizes and configurations, the many weave styles, and the numerous specific finishes.

Low cost

When compared to textiles made of synthetic and natural fibers, fiberglass fabrics perform well and are more affordable.


Industrial gaskets benefit from an efficient thermal barrier provided by materials with high-temperature insulation. Fiberglass is one of the most often used materials in industrial gaskets because it is strong, secure, and provides excellent thermal insulation. In addition to offering improved insulation, they also aid in energy conservation, machinery protection, and professional labor safety. Fiberglass is applied in the following: 

-Fiberglass is used to make components for the aerospace and defense industries, including test equipment, ducting, enclosures, and others.

-Fairings, radomes, and wing tips are examples of secondary construction on airplanes that frequently employ fiberglass. The rotor blades of helicopters are also made of fiberglass. 

-Fiberglass is available in a variety of shapes to suit a range of uses as follows:

  • Fiberglass Tape: Made of glass fiber strands, fiberglass tapes are renowned for their capacity to insulate heat. This kind of fiberglass has several uses, including covering hot pipes and vessels.
  • Smooth fiberglass fabric is available in a variety of forms, such as glass fiber yarns and glass filament yarns. It is frequently utilized in fire curtains, heat shields, and other products.
  • Fiberglass Rope: Glass fiber yarns are braided into ropes that are used for packaging.

-Fiberglass may be divided into the following main categories based on the raw elements utilized and their proportions:

  • A-glass: Alkali glass, often known as “A-glass,” is chemically resistant. A-glass fiber is similar to window glass in composition. It is employed in several regions of the world to create process equipment.
  • C-glass: Also known as chemical glass, C-glass has excellent resistance to chemical impact.
  • E-glass: Is an extremely effective electrical insulator and is also known as electrical glass.
  • AE-glass: This is glass that can withstand alkalis.
  • S glass: Also known as structural glass, this material is renowned for its strong mechanical qualities.

3.3 Kevlar in Model Airplane Construction


Fibers made of aramid are known as Kevlar. Aramid fibers are strong, lightweight, and resilient. In the aviation sector, there are two different forms of aramid fiber. The rigidity of Kevlar 49 is high, while Kevlar 29 is low. Because of aramid fibers’ exceptional resistance to impact damage, they are frequently employed in places where such damage is a concern. The primary drawback of aramid fibers is their overall brittleness under hygroscopy and compression. 

According to service reports, some Kevlar components may absorb up to 8% of their weight in water. As a result, aramid fiber components need to be shielded from the elements.

The inability to drill or cut Kevlar is another drawback. To cut the fabric, special scissors are required since the strands tangle quickly. Kevlar is frequently utilized in body armor and ballistic applications for the military. It comes in dry fabric and prepreg form, and its hue is a natural yellow. Aramid fiber bundles are measured by weight rather than number of fibers like carbon or fiberglass.


Kevlar is the lightest weight and toughest fabric type widely used in composite industry. It is used today as a fabric alone in bullet proof vests, impact and cut resistant safety equipment, and used as a fire retardant. Kevlar has the highest benefit between being used as fabric or composite. In composite form, Kevlar is used to produce structures that provide the best impact and abrasion resistance characteristics in comparison to other fibers. Kevlar fills the gap of stiffness between fiberglass and carbon fiber while providing high strength reinforcement. Kevlar can be difficult to cut and process unless the correct tools are used. Kevlar composite parts are almost always painted as they will degrade over time when exposed to UV radiation and sunlight.

Kevlar fiber has already distinguished itself in applications as early as the 1980s, and was dubbed as “a material with an outstanding combination of high strength and high modulus per unit weight.” Additionally, it has a wide practical temperature range, is non-melting, and is naturally flame resistant. In order to get the perfect product blend, various applications in airplane components are currently regularly employing this material as reinforcement with other materials like carbon and boron. The material is nevertheless excellent in terms of strength and lightweighting, five times stronger than steel, and may lower the weight of an airplane by up to 40% if other materials like aluminum are used in their place.