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Smart Solutions for Lightweight Design

At the JEC Composites Show, on March 24th - 26th 2009, in Paris researchers from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe's largest organisation for applied research, will demonstrate their expertise in the fields of durability, reliability, chemistry, production technology, mechanics of materials and industrial mathematics.

They will share their latest results in testing, characterization, analysis, design, and monitoring of composite materials. Major projects include Clean Sky JTI and KITe hyLITE. A highlight is an aircraft wing mock-up demonstrating future Structural Health Monitoring concepts (hall 1.3 stand T18).

How can mechanical strength, dynamics and durability be integrated during the design process of fibre-reinforced components? Fraunhofer-scientists will show smart answers to these questions at the JEC Composites in Paris. An aircraft wing mock-up demonstrates their expertise in the development of manufacturing, testing, evaluation and inspection technologies.

Based on proven competence in the experimental and computational assessment of engineering plastics fatigue life and vibration characteristics, one focus is the augmentation of damage tolerant component-design concepts, as required by certification authorities in aviation, by application of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) systems.

In order to supersede today's costly inspection and maintenance schemes several types of different sensors could be integrated in future structures, enabling condition-based maintenance and eventually even lighter weight design. Current research projects aim to reduce the associated costs while upholding safety and reliability, with many areas of possible application.

Due to growing environmental awareness, the concept is however thought to be of special interest for the transport sector. Therefore a showcase presented at the JEC demonstrates SHM-concepts for an aircraft wing: 42 sensors integrated in or applied to the structure serve to demonstrate the monitoring of loads, impacts, and damage. By processing and interpretation of all the sensors' signals, researchers intend to correlate these data with experimental tests, thus assessing the structure's condition.

Also rising to the challenge of combined economical and ecological goals the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) is an innovative, large programme that will radically improve the impact of Air Transport on the environment while strengthening and securing European aeronautics industry's competitiveness. Its purpose is to demonstrate and validate the technological breakthroughs that are necessary to reach the environmental goals set by the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe.

The main objectives of Clean Sky JTI are the reduction of fuel consumption (CO2- and NOx emissions), of the perceived external noise and "Ecolonomic" life cycle. Together with Agusta Westland, Airbus, Alenia Aeronautica, Dassault Aviation, EADS-CASA, Eurocopter, Liebherr-Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, Saab AB, Safran and Thales the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is one of the platform leaders in this project and a member of the "Clean Sky" JTI Executive Board.

Another major research activity in the field is KITe hyLITE, an innovation cluster with more than thirty partners from research and industry, focusing on new technologies for hybrid lightweight construction. The partners have joined forces in order to explore methods, materials and the efficient production of fibre-reinforced composites and material combinations in vehicles of every description, so that a reduction in fuel consumption and the associated CO2 emissions can be achieved.

Scientific contact:
Dominik Laveuve
Cell during fair: +49 172 6184202

Anke Zeidler-Finsel | Fraunhofer Gesellschaft
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