difficult task because the rheology and flow behavior of long-fiber composites are complex and not yet fully understood. The panel encourages research in this area because the product could facilitate the injection molding of advanced composites. If this work were successful, it would enable molding of composites, which would be far more cost-effective than the manual lay-ups that are employed currently in the aeronautical industry.
Many of the traditional fabrication and assembly processes used in manufacturing are not understood well at a fundamental level. What happens at the tip of a tool bit? What limits drilling speed and bit life? Opportunities to improve forming and joining processes by better choices and applications of adhesives depend on better understanding of the adhesion process. Better fundamental understanding of the chemistry of oxide formation and fluxing could pay dividends in welding, brazing, and soldering with improvements in process speed, cost, and reliability. Basic research in these and other areas of processing science is encouraged by the panel.
A severe limitation to the rapid development of processes and systems is a lack of emphasis on prototyping. Research activity should be backed up by and coupled to process and manufacturing prototyping for rapid feedback on problems inherent in process and design before they are embedded in a costly, marginally producible system. Not responding to the opportunities offered here carries a significant risk of jeopardizing future U.S. leadership in the area of process science.