CRCA 2007: Lightly Does it for Safer Aircraft

Composite materials and innovative computer analysis tools will enable aircraft designers to develop lighter and safer aircraft.

Mr Adrian Orifici is a RMIT University PhD student working on a research project funded by the CRC for Advanced Composite Structures (CRC-ACS). [17 May 2007, CRCA Conference]

In collaboration with European partners, Orifici’s one year secondment to Germany and Italy was to participate in an European Commission aeronautics project. One of the project’s objectives [1] is reduce aircraft development cost by 50%.

Orifici took part in Showcasing CRC Early Career Scientists, Cooperative Research Centres Association Conference, chaired by Professor Lyn Beazley, Chief Scientist of Western Australia.

[mp3@64kbps – 3.0Mb]
[ogg vorbis – 1.2Mb]

After a brief history to the materials used in aircraft, Orifci described where the new high performance lower weight materials were currently being used, including the AirBus and Boeing’s newer aircraft.

Polymers are one type of composite that is reinforced with millions of fibres. Not being able to accurately predict the behaviour of composites means that aircraft are over-designed; because the composites are thicker and heavier than they need to be.

Orifici described how using the new computer software analysis tools he has developed will enable aircraft designers to more easily model the complex composite structures and understand the failure process of the materials, leading to less costly, lighter, and safer aircraft.

[1] The 6th EU Framework Programme for RTD: Aeronautics R&TD Programme (.ppt 205 kB), European Commission.

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