Funding Organisation: European Union, 7th Framework Programme (Cooperation, NMP Theme)
Region: Europe
Project Period: 2010 – 2013
Partners: The research consortium is led by COEXPAIR S.A. (Belgium), and comprises EADS France IW, Nanocyl S.A., Alstom, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Výzkumný a zkušební letecký ústav, a.s., Composite Testing Laboratory Ltd, Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH, University of Cambridge, Queen Mary&Westfield College, University of London, Insa-Lyon, SLCA, ESAIT, Quickstep GmbH, Eurocarbon, FIDAMC and IMDEA Materials Institute.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Carlos González (carlosdaniel.gonzalez@imdea.org)

Nowadays, the whole aerospace industry (engines & structures) turns definitively to high-performance carbon fibre composites to solve main challenge such as: cost savings, further weight reduction and improved durability. Composites are key materials for the development of the whole transport industry since they simultaneously reduce the associated costs and the transport environmental imprint via reduction in fuel consumption, and hence, COx and NOx emission reductions through lightweight design.

In the aerospace industry, this mutation to composites requires, however, urgent and imperative solutions to some technical issues raised by composites as, by order of todays priorities, low electrical conductivity, low toughness, poor transverse and interlaminar properties. This mutation also requires radical changes in manufacturing processes, repairs and non-destructive testing.

In IMS&CPS, material innovations and associated processes will be closely developed in order:

  • To design novel material combinations through innovative synergies between carbon nanotube, carbon fibre and epoxy matrix;
  • To target macro/micro/nanostructuration of materials through process strategies for specific localization & orientation by weaving, folding, braiding/spinning, tufting, stitching/sizing, local growth, electrophoresis deposition;
  • To fit composites to manufacturing of vehicle parts within a cost-effective and labour-effective production through (SQ)RTM or Quickstep process.

This project aims to combine carbon nanotubes with high-performance carbon fibres to create highly innovative materials with tailored localization and orientation at both the nano and micro-scales in the final Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) composite part, together with innovative production processes, which are capable of delivering high-end multifunctional structural parts, in a flexible and economically viable way. The structural parts developed during the course of the project need, obviously, to fit with the requirements of the main aerospace, train and automotive manufactures.

IMDEA Materials Institute contribution to the project includes the development of methodologies to model electrical conductivity and light impact performance for hierarchical nano-engineered fibre reinforced composites and the assessment of fire properties.

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