Applications such as the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art expansion only come about when designers, engineers and composites companies work together. And that still happens far too infrequently, according to industry professionals. “There’s an education that needs to continue to happen in our global marketplace, where most people have lots of experience with metals,” says Carling. “From a composites standpoint, the only industry that is very experienced is aerospace.”

The challenge often is trying to beat out a metal that has some of the same properties as composites at a lower price. Landis says the industry has found ways to do this by offering a total lower price gained through parts consolidation, reduced weight and design freedom. But conveying this message to end users takes time. “We need to get through to the ‘metal heads,’” says Landis. “The idea is to get the engineering community to understand the nature of our products and the advantages we have. Composites may not have all of the properties that a metal has, but it has others that are better than metal, such as corrosion-resistance for structural applications.”

So how do you get through to designers and engineers? Landis says it takes one conversation – one high-performance application – at a time.

Susan Keen Flynn is managing editor of Composites Manufacturing magazine. Email comments to