Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Abstract

The APRICOS programme has focused on the technologies necessary for the development of composite fuselage structures with the aim to demonstrate a 30% life cycle cost saving over conventional metal aircraft. This target saving contained elements of initial purchase cost, mass saving (which might be translated into terms of range, payload and fuel costs) maintenance and operational costs. Different materials and process technologies were compared for the various component parts within a generic demonstrator panel. The results have permitted the identification of predesign and processing technologies for advanced, affordable, composite fuselages. In parallel to technology development, key technical areas linked to the introduction of composite structures for fuselage applications have been clearly identified.
Based on specification developed in a previous BE programme, a certification approach has been proposed and design requirements identified.
Stress methods for post buckling analysis and design criteria for skin stiffener failure were developed and validated against test results. Furthermore, impact behaviour of structures were extensively investigated and models successfully developed.
Material specification for fuselage structures has been agreed and 10 materials evaluated. A philosophy of ranking was developed and materials compared using spidergraphics.
Design concepts were presented for different applications and suitable technologies for the different elements have been identified. Innovative composite technologies were developed for the different elements : Liquid Resin Infusion and Resin Film Infusion for self stiffened skins and Resin Transfer Molding for frames and doors.
Using these technologies developed at subcomponent level, scale up has been demonstrated for the generic panel manufacturing. Assembly of such a structure was achieved under industrial conditions. Technology readiness has been gained during this project.

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