Designers should focus on uses of carbon-carbon polymer composites and fly-by-light technologies, Bob Schureman told an Industrial Designers Society of America gathering.
These ``are the materials design people need to be more in tune with,'' he said at IDSA's western district conference, held May 2-4 in Pasadena.
Because of carbon-carbon's availability, ``we have several research vehicles that will go Mach 10 so the SR-71 is obsolete,'' Schureman said in an interview, referring to the now-retired, 1960s-era Mach-3 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft. ``The highest-tech material today is carbon-carbon.'' He said testing is occurring at U.S. Air Force bases in California and Ohio.
He noted the auto industry's interest in drive-by-wire and observed the technology ``was fly-by-wire 37 years ago'' in aircraft applications.
``Now NASA and everybody is researching fly-by-light,'' he said. ``Because of something the thickness of our hair, you can have redundant things all over your airplane, and it will still work.''
Schureman is a vigorous, 73-year-old instructor on plastics technology at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
In addition, he is marketing coordinator for the upcoming Len Stobar-designed C2C research project. C2C stands for coast to coast.
Schureman's IDSA presentation included images of C2C's futuristic, enclosed, three-wheel motorcycle. Plans call for an early fall trip across the country without refueling.
Two people in tandem will seek to get the airfoil-shaped vehicle ``from the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif., to Jacksonville, Fla., and possibly up to Washington and New York on one tank of gas at freeway speeds,'' Schureman said. A model was completed in February 2002.
The 70 percent plastic vehicle has fiber-optic controls, aircraft-style wing fuel cells, pencil-head-size electronic cameras instead of rear-view mirrors and high-intensity light-emitting-diode brake lights. It is designed to weigh less than 600 pounds without fuel, driver or passenger.
Plastics-related C2C corporate contributors include urethane-block-supplier Coastal Enterprises Co. of Orange, Calif., for high density polyurethane foam, thermoformer Ray Products Inc. of Ontario, Calif., for canopies and material-equipment supplier Revchem Plastics of Bloomington, Calif., for fiberglass materials, resins and primers. Design-development firm Ctek in Tustin, Calif., is providing five-axis machining and assembly space.
``When you teach young design people, you've got to get them thinking beyond the box,'' he said. ``Education needs to be more hands-on.''
Designers need to understand fiber optics, voice-activated commands and hydrogen as an alternative energy.
Schureman mentioned new vacuum formable plastic sheet. ``You can hit it with a sledge hammer,'' he said.
He also discussed multiple-arc plasma ignition for fuller combustion of fuels, gas injection molding technologies, conductive tapes and adhesives and chemical vapor deposition.
Schureman remembers the days of using wood, chicken wire, burlap and plaster to create a model. He established the first plastics processing program in a California high school in 1965. Schureman taught for 20 years at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa, Calif., seven years at California State University in Long Beach and 32 years, mostly part time, at the Art Center College.
Full time at the Art Center from 1997-2001, he organized a new technical-skills center that garnered $300,000 in donated equipment and materials in its first year and $500,000 more in the second year.
Touring IDSA attendees saw a five-axis computer numerically controlled machine tool from Motionmaster Inc. of Vista, Calif.; four laser units from Universal Laser Systems Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz.; three fused-deposition modeling machines from Stratasys Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minn.; three CNC routers from Techno Inc. of New Hyde Park, N.Y.; a bench-type injection molding machine from Morgan Industries Inc. of Long Beach; and two vacuum formers with 24-by-36-inch and 24-by-24-inch beds.
Separately, Schureman is assisting in the establishment of a rapid modeling and prototype program at Irvine Valley College in Irvine, Calif.
Schureman has a major role for the Association of Professional Model Makers 2003 conference Oct. 23-27 in Costa Mesa, Calif. APMM is based in Austin, Texas.
``Model making is about 80 percent plastics,'' he said.