Due to the developments and the interest of leading aerospace companies, additive manufacturing (AM) has become a highly discussed topic in the last decades. This is mainly due to its capability of producing parts with high geometrical complexity, short manufacturing lead times, and suitability for customization as well as for low-volume production. As is the case with aircraft fuselage body where weight reduction while keeping the demanding mechanical properties is of uttermost importance, modern technology applications sometimes need materials with unusual combinations of properties that cannot be solely provided by metals, polymers, or ceramics. In this case, composite materials combining two or more materials allow having the preferred properties in one material. Thus, AM of composites is becoming more and more important for critical applications. Fiber reinforcement can significantly enhance the properties of resins/polymeric matrix materials. Although continuous fiber composites even present higher mechanical performance, the manufacturing methods for chopped fibers are more commercially available. This chapter reviews the studies in the field involving many aspects spanning from design, process technology, and applications to available equipment.
Part of the book: Aircraft Technology