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The development of advanced composites, tion. Forecasts indicate that the potential spanning a brief period from inception to usage in automobiles in the early 1990's will application of only 15 to 20 years, epitomizes amount to millions of pounds of advanced the rapidity with which a generation's change composites. in the state-of-the-art can take place. This is in We find ourselves in a peculiar position. marked contrast to past history, in which it The hardware capability is progressing so has usually required 25 years or more of rapidly that the knowledge and familiarity of research before a new structural material was the designer can hardly keep pace. We have an technologically ready. obligation now not just to mature this ad In the mid-1950's the U.S. Air Force identi vanced technology and its applications, but fied the promise for early application of a new also to communicate the state-of-the-art to the class of materials-advanced composites designer in a form in which it can be applied and established its feasibility by the fabrication readily to practical structures. I believe that of raw fiber with exceptional strength- and this book, Handbook of Composites, will modulus-to-weight ratios. The practical fabrica clearly provide a portion of this missing link.