GLARE is a new type of material that has been in development at the Delft University of Technology for the past 25 years. It consists of alternating layers of aluminium and glass fibres (the stuff that fibre glass things are made of, like the hulls of most yachts and modern 'plastic' sailplanes). These layers of metal and fibre are glued together using an epoxy. This type of laminate has been dubbed 'Fibre-reinforced Metal Laminate' or FML.

The fibre layers to produce an FML come in a pre-impregnated layer, a so-called prepreg. The impregnate being the epoxy necessary to glue the different layers together. Alternating layers of aluminium and prepregs are stacked up and then cured in an autoclave under controlled temperature and pressure conditions. What comes out after this curing is a ready to use sheet of FML.

The main application for GLARE is thought to be in the aircraft industry, but it has many possible applications. At the moment the Airbus A380, the next step in aircraft design and manufacturing, will depend on GLARE to provide strength, resistance against metal fatigue cracks and low weight properties in a number of structures in the plane. Most notably in the fuselage itself. The first series will have parts of the fuselage made out of GLARE, but the idea is to eventually produce the entire fuselage using GLARE.

The advantages of GLARE are:


September 5, 2001