Funding: European Union, 7th Framework Programme (Cooperation, Transport Theme)
Region: International
Project period: 2008 – 2016
Partners: Consortium of 58 partners from 18 countries
Principal Investigator: Dr. Carlos González (carlosdaniel.gonzalez@imdea.org)

A Collaborative Research project funded by the European Union within the Seventh Framework Programme in the topic “Integrated approach to life-cycle based development of aircraft structures”. IMDEA Materials Institute is one of the research centers in a consortium of 58 partners from 18 countries made up of aircraft manufacturers, material behaviour specialists, software and computer hardware developers, computational mechanics experts and test centers, both from industry and academia. The approximate budget of the project is 70 M€.

The objective of the project is to reduce of the airframe development costs by 5% through the delivery of a predictive virtual test capability for large composite structures up to failure with a quantified level of confidence. This capability will be assessed and validated through an exhaustive comparison with a full-scale physical test of the composite barrel. A new Certification Philosophy, based on Virtual Testing, will be assessed. It will also consider the structure as it is actually manufactured and assembled and not only as it is designed. In addition, Virtual Testing will be a major asset to freeze a trouble–free design earlier than today and will avoid late and costly changes due to unexpected test results. It will provide more mature aircraft to the customers at Entry Into Service, with fewer Service Bulletins or post-entry into service modifications. This will be a key asset for airliner satisfaction.

IMDEA Materials Institute contribution to the project will include the development of modelling tools to simulate the mechanical behaviour of composite materials and structures from microscopic to macroscopic level using computational micro- and mesomechanics as well as the definition of a model to characterize composite material properties under hot/wet conditions.