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TECNALIA leads a composite materials project to increase aircraft safety

13.11.2008
Providing aircraft with greater safety, with mechanisms that avoid, for example, the formation of ice layers on the wings or aircraft surface or the incorporation of systems that impede the spread of fire in case of accidents, is the goal of this new project led by the aerospace unit at TECNALIA.

With an initial budget of 3 million euros and the participation of twelve European members, the Laysa project (Multifunctional Layers for Safer Aircraft Composite Structures) will develop a new multilayer material that approaches the problems of icing protection, fire resistance and health monitoring of a composite component simultaneously. The outer layer of the multilayer material will be reinforced with either carbon nanofibers or carbon nanotubes.

The conductive capacity of the carbon will mean that an electrical field will heat the composite component and avoid ice from building up on its surface. An inner layer will contain inorganic nanoreinforcements that may be combined with flame retardants to enhance the fire resistance of the component without significantly increasing its weight, a key factor in aeronautical applications.

The sensory capacity of the materials will also be used to identify the status of the part at all times (self-inspection).

The LAYSA project counts of the participation of five industrial companies (INASCO, Advanced Composite Group, Huntsman, Aries Complex and Aernnova), three research centres (Swerea SICOMP AB, Centre de la Recherche Paul Pascal-Transform and TECNALIA) and four universities (University of Patras, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Lille, University of Cranfield and Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour) from the six European countries: United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Greece and Spain.

As well as heading and coordinating the project, the TECNALIA Aerospace Unit will be responsible for characterising and developing the composite materials (nanomaterials: carbon nanotubes and nanofibers, etc.) so that they have the required thermal and electrical conductivity.

Especially notable is the fact that TECNALIA is leading one of the Level 1 projects out of a total of 22 financed (in the field of aeronautics) arising from the first announcement or call for the VII Framework Programme, and within this list can be found such significant leaders as Airbus, EADS, Rolls-Royce, Alenia, Thales and other giants in the aeronautics sector.

Irati Kortabitarte | alfa
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