Unmanned Systems Technology 024 | Wingcopter 178 l 5G focus l UUVs insight l CES report l Stromkind KAT l Intelligent Energy fuel cell l Earthsense TerraSentia l Connectors focus l Advanced Engineering report

92 T he 10th annual Advanced Engineering show took place in Birmingham, UK, in late 2018, with the city’s National Exhibition Centre playing host to more than 600 exhibitors and thousands of attendees. Among the aisles of the vast expo floor were the latest offerings in composites, metals, manufacturing techniques and other vital solutions for aerospace and automotive engineers. Alvant (formerly CMT), which is short for ‘Aluminium Advantage’, attended the show to discuss CorXal, its new multi- phase aluminium matrix composite. It’s a sandwich-type material that incorporates continuous fibres on its surface with a low-density syntactic foam as its core. This provides engineers with a material that combines an ultra-high specific strength and stiffness with a low density similar to carbon fibre composite. “For continuous fibres, we typically work with alumina, an aluminium oxide- based fibre, and for syntactic foams we use glass cenospheres, which give the foam effect with very low density,” explained Richard Thompson. “CorXal combines the continuous fibres and syntactic foams into a single material, with our advanced liquid pressure forming [ALPF] technique to make it all in one step. This provides a closed system with no additional bonding of ‘skins to core’, reducing any knock- down design factors and allowing near- net shape parts to be made, such as winglets and struts.” ALPF comprises patented as well as proprietary inputs to infiltrate the material with liquid aluminium under pressure. CorXal could be of particular use in UAV components that need to operate at medium or high altitudes Rory Jackson finds plenty of fresh innovations at this recent exhibition, where new composites were among the stars of the show Made to last February/March 2019 | Unmanned Systems Technology Attendees to the show were shown a slew of innovative materials and manufacturing methods