Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Smart aircraft wings and new lightweight construction materials

08.04.2008
At the JEC Composites Show 2008 to be held in Paris from April 1 to 3, Fraunhofer researchers will be exhibiting an aircraft wing that immediately detects any material damage. Another showcased development is a novel fiber-composite material with a fiber content that can extend to 50 or 60 percent by volume.

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
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht New players, standardization and digitalization for more rail freight transport
16.07.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht A helping (Sens)Hand
11.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Bifacial Stem Cells Produce Wood and Bast

Heidelberg researchers study one of the most important growth processes on Earth

So-called bifacial stem cells are responsible for one of the most critical growth processes on Earth – the formation of wood.

Im Focus: Energizing the immune system to eat cancer

Abramson Cancer Center study identifies method of priming macrophages to boost anti-tumor response

Immune cells called macrophages are supposed to serve and protect, but cancer has found ways to put them to sleep. Now researchers at the Abramson Cancer...

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene and related materials safety: human health and the environment

23.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

Blood test shows promise for early detection of severe lung-transplant rejection

23.01.2019 | Life Sciences

Evolution of signaling molecules opens door to new sepsis therapy approaches

23.01.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>