Nowadays it’s easy to hop on a plane and fly to London or spend a romantic weekend in Paris for just a few euros – if the volume of air traffic is increasing, one of the main reasons is the low tariffs. From an environmental point of view, however, this frequent and spontaneous use of air travel is a controversial issue.
A European consortium consisting of 86 industrial firms and research partners from 16 nations has therefore formed the “Clean Sky” Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) with the aim of minimizing the amount of air pollution caused by aircraft. Through a number of research and development projects to be conducted over the next seven years, this initiative intends to help to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 percent, NOx emissions by 80 percent, and cut perceived noise by half. The researchers also intend to develop more environmentally compatible methods, processes and materials for the design, manufacture, operation and end-of-life disposal of aircraft. Six Fraunhofer Institutes are currently members of the consortium, and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is one of the twelve organizations that make up the program’s Governing Board.
At the JEC Composites Show 2008 to be held in Paris from April 1 to 3, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability will be presenting a demonstrator of a structural health monitoring system based on the use of piezoelectric materials (Stand U74). “We will be demonstrating an aircraft wing made of a fiber composite material incorporating a number of piezoelectric sensors and actuators,” says Dr. Ursula Eul, strategic manager of Fraunhofer LBF. “This system enables damage to the material, caused by impact for instance, to be detected at a very early stage – practically as it arises.” Piezoelectric actuators in the structure emit acoustic signals which generate a specific pattern of structure-borne noise on the wing. The resulting vibrations are recorded by piezoelectric sensors. Any incipient damage to the material, such as the first signs of delamination, causes changes in the wave pattern of the structure-borne noise. A major challenge here is that the sensors integrated in the structure must not have any negative effect on the fatigue strength of the component or, worse still, on the normal performance of the wing. Reliable structural health monitoring systems that can operate continuously without affecting structural durability are one of the thematic areas of the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative.
Another of the exhibits to be featured at the JEC show stems from research at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT: A novel high-performance fiber composite material that demonstrates excellent crash behavior in addition to possessing high strength and stiffness, and is therefore particularly suitable for use in the automotive and aerospace industries.
Fiber-reinforced plastics generally consist of a matrix material into which reinforcement fibers – commonly glass or carbon – are embedded. “The most important requirement when producing high-performance fiber composite materials is that the fibers should be laid down in the direction subject to the highest stresses and that they should be adequately wetted by the matrix material. Our process enables us to achieve a high fiber content of between 50 and 60 percent by volume – a far higher ratio than that obtainable using other thermoplastic techniques,” declares Jan Kuppinger of the ICT. The traditional method of producing thermoplastic fiber composites involves melting a plastic granulate to form the matrix and then mixing the viscous material with the selected type of fiber. “By contrast, in our process we start with the basic constituents of the polymer material, which have the same fluid properties as water and therefore wet the individual fibers much more efficiently. The ensuing polymerization process takes place very rapidly inside the tool,” explains Kuppinger. An added advantage is that polymerization occurs at a maximum temperature of 160°C, which is well below the melting point of the final polymerized thermoplastic. This considerably improves the energy efficiency of the process.
This innovative process for the manufacture of new high-performance fiber composites was developed by the Karlsruhe-based innovation cluster “KITe HyLite – Technologies for Lightweight Vehicle Construction”. The key research focus of this innovation cluster is technologies for function-integrated hybrid lightweight construction. Emphasis is placed on a holistic approach to fiber composite technologies, encompassing everything from basic methods and the design of new materials to manufacturing technologies.
Dr. phil. nat. Ursula Eul | Fraunhofer Gesellschaft
Study sets new distance record for medical drone transport
13.09.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Researchers 'count cars' -- literally -- to find a better way to control heavy traffic
10.08.2017 | Florida Atlantic University
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy