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Researchers at NC State College of Engineering have created an alternative to the current aluminum leading edges of aircraft wings. It’s a hybrid material they call, infused composite metal foam (CMF).

Afsaneh Rabiei, the author of a paper on the work and a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State. says, “Aluminium is currently the material of choice for making the leading edge of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft wings. Our results suggest the infused CMF may be a valuable replacement, offering better performance at the same weight.” When investing both materials, aerospace-grade aluminum and infused CMF, researchers found that infused CMF has a contact angle 130% higher than aluminum—a major enhancement.