UW Today

August 31, 2011

Boeing 787′s certification puts spotlight on UW materials lab (with slide show)

News and Information

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) held a press conference on the UW campus last week to recognize a federally funded research center that helped Boeing develop the first commercial airplane made largely from composite materials, or carbon fiber. The event was held on the eve of the Federal Aviation Administration’s anticipated certification of the airplane, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Speakers included UW President Michael Young; Mark Tuttle, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the UW research center; Randy Coggeshall, senior manager at Boeing Commercial Airplanes; and Larry Ilcewicz, the FAAs regulation and certification chief scientific technical advisor of advanced composite materials.

“This is a true Pacific Northwest success story,” Cantwell said. “Its a partnership including Washington research institutions, and Washington businesses, and obviously, a dream team that is bigger than just the Dreamliner itself.”

“Investing in research and development today, creates jobs tomorrow,” she added.

The UW’s Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials in Transport Aircraft Structures (or AMTAS) is funded through federal and private-sector sources. The lab helped in certifications of the compression-molding technique that Boeing used to manufacture many of the large composite parts used in the Dreamliner, which on Friday was, indeed, cleared for use in commercial air travel.