“In just the past couple of years, a number of startups have developed processes for creating all sorts of small objects from composites, in a way that is fast and inexpensive. These include Berkeley, Calif.-based Arris Composites, 9T Labs in Zurich, Orbital Composites in Silicon Valley, and others.

Shifting substantial portions of what we make and use from steel and plastic to composites—which are amalgamations of a variety of fibers, embedded in a variety of plastics—could bring new kinds of transportation, more terrifying weapons of war, and lighter and more durable smartphones, wearables and other consumer electronics.

All of that is possible because composites, while they have their challenges, are often able to perform just as well as high-strength metal parts, but with a fraction of the weight. Composites are the reason modern jetliners are so fuel-efficient, and the entire wind-power industry would be impossible without enormous turbine blades made from composites.”

From Wall Street Journal.