Composite materials, which have already revolutionized the aerospace industry and are being increasingly utilized in the automotive industry to fabricate lightweight, high-stiffness components are an essential ingredient for the next generation of robotic and machine systems. This trend in the increasing utilization of composite materials has been precipitated by the insatiable demands in the international marketplace for machinery which has superior performance characteristics than the current products. As more stringent performance characteristics are imposed upon the design specifications for the next generation of machine systems, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the conventional metals are already being employed near the limits of their inherent physical properties and the designer must now utilize the superior properties of modern polymeric composite materials. This paper examines the proposition of fabricating machine systems with these advanced materials by reviewing the advantages to be gained from this approach prior to identifying the frontier problems and discussing potential solution strategies.

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