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MADMAX Report Summary

Project ID: 609253
Funded under: FP7-NMP
Country: France

Final Report Summary - MADMAX (Advanced Material Textile for Reinforced Structures for Complex Lightweight Applications)

Executive Summary:
The objective of this project was to regroup a cluster of private and academic laboratories supported by key manufacturers from the sectors of automotive, aeronautic, railway and marine transport in order to investigate the possibility to benchmark specific composites.

The scientific focus of the MADMAX project is the joint effort concentrating on those scientific and technical items with interdisciplinary topics: material science, interactive materials, simulation, composites and sensoring for:
• Development of high performance functionalized materials to 3D complex preforms
• Development of autonomous system to monitor the composites structures, incorporation of sensors inside the preforms
• Development of standards to qualify the composites and the durability
• Development of model for fundamental understanding of the structure/property relationship with advanced simulation tools

The ultimate goal is to insure the development of highly innovative textile processes and high performance flexible materials with significant improvement of mechanical behaviour and integrated functions, e.g. structural health monitoring and self-healing for composites structures.

The fully supply chain of technical skills from academic partners and industrials brougth its expertise for the optimal development of innovative products and processes through:
• Characterization of the raw material and functionalization of composites
• Characterization and optimization of structures
• Development of 3D manufacturing technologies
• Development of joining techniques
• Monitoring of preforms to evaluate the state of the composites
• Modeling and virtual prototyping software
• End users able to optimize the system, use and develop the technologies, in the different transport applications
• Work on standardization

The first objective of MADMAX was the redaction of a Handbook for students and industrials. This Handbook aims at being a best practice book summarizing knowledge of all partners regarding all stages of composites conception: from the material characterization, to the composite manufacture, to the numerical modelling, to the assembly, to the structure health monitoring. This book is publically available.

The second objective of MADMAX was to set up an association dedicated to composites materials for transportation. Statutes of the association have been elaborated during the project. The association will be created within 6 months after the end of the MADMAX project.

Project Context and Objectives:
One of the priorities in transport but also others industries (building and energy) is to develop lightweight complex structures with high mechanic and quality performances, in order replace the metallic heavy pieces. In fact, the demand of energy efficient environment friendly vehicles for transport industries is increasing. Such vehicles are expected to be lightweight for less energy consumption as well as for minimum CO2 emission, high performance, reliability, recyclability, cost effective production, safety and comfort. An important issue is to reduce the material types, to enhance recycling, but without scarifying the notion of performance at affordable cost. The needs concerning composites structure is increasing; however there is still major breakthrough limit acting against their development, which are the following: high cost production, long and labor-intensive production, quality issues, lack of versatile and flexible process, tailored properties difficult to achieve with current technologies, low qualified skillness.

The more advanced sector for composites is aeronautic. But the composites development is disparity according to the sector of application. For example rail is arguably behind the curves on the composites adoption compared to aerospace. Today’s mainline rail vehicles tend to be extensively composite inside outside and especially structural, still mainly metal. In contrast, the latest airliners are 50% composites including their load bearing primary aero structures. Why the disparity?

The rail and the air vehicles have much in common. They are both fast moving passenger carrying tubes that are prone to static and dynamic stresses plus material fatigue over long and intensive services lives. Fire is also a potential hazard in both cases so the structures have to be engineered to minimize this and also with crashworthiness in mind. Comfort is also important.

The development of interior composite can be explained by the fact that they have clearly an impact on weight and on the operating costs and profits. A 10% s in the mass of metropolitan rail vehicle can reduce energy consumption by 7 %, saving up to US $ 100 000 annually per vehicle.

So the review of the composite development is explained by the lack of knowledge about all the steps of development of composites manufacturing. The substitution of metal part for transport application requires lot of efforts, time and transversal competences to optimize the composite structures and to insure the maximal level of safety during the use. However integration of this new technology soars lot of issues regarding:
• The technology to be used featuring resin, material and assemblies ( laminated, honey comb, sandwiches structure)
• The processability, the manufacturing and integration of the composite part into the conventional steal environment – sealing, junctions. The integration study shall be based on engineering studies that have been fueling for years with date based on steal assemblies
• The mechanical properties and their modelisation approaches -fueled with new inputs based on reliable models connected to composites, whereas for metal - greater uniformity, a number of simulation tools exist
• The fire safety issue, in the frame work of the implementation of new safety standard at a European level (ex: EN 45545-2), which tends to complicate this step.

Despite significant developments achieved by the EU industry in the composite area, more needs to be done to strengthen its competitiveness globally. It is necessary to reinforce the bridge between research, industry and users to avoid commercial results of EU research to be harvested elsewhere. In fact, the relatively fragmented industrial structure with a predominance of SMEs on most steps of the value chain is frequently a barrier to developing innovative and high value-added products to bring forward the realisation of market potential at the national, European and international scales.
The cluster approach can deepen cooperation between composites material value chain components and offer a platform to overcome resource limitations of SMEs, orientate the markets towards more innovative products with large potential in terms of spill over, and facilitate further technological breakthroughs. However, the current image of ATM clusters in Europe presents a geographical, industrial and sectoral fragmentation – with highly diversified technologies, applications and niche markets – thus preventing a coordinated approach. A common strategy is thus essential to reinforce and promote the existing competencies in the fields of research, innovation and industrial technologies. This can be achieved through the creation of a word-class cluster able to coordinate the efforts for high innovative products and improve the time to market at an international scale.

Actually the development of composite is limited due to the lack of industry network to carry on the necessary breakthrough identified. We have identified the following:
• Current textiles manufactories are not be adapted to produce complex preforms with upgraded fibres as carbon fibres due to lack of visibility of the market
• Textiles industry need to have support in order to define the most optimized textiles structure for the composites according to the condition of use, and to have a common referential to qualify the mechanical properties of 3D preforms
• The innate conservatism of another industry that is rooted in heavy engineering and for safety reason cannot be experimented too
• It is hard to grasp the reality of composites because they are not sure of what the reality is. This is reflected on the dearth of software models that are generic enough to be widely applicable development tools, whereas for metals with flexi greater uniformity, a number of standard simulation tools exists, reports that it can take several days to model an automated application for composites, compared to just a few laws for a metal equipment.
• The variability of composites that allows designers to optimize a material for each intended case is a nuisance when it introduces at the production stage due to material or mainpower inconsistency. The variability of human input is harder to limit in anything shot of automated production solutions. So improvements during manufacturing are required.
• The Joining the composites is also a difficulty. HOW to verify the ultimate strength of composite bond- coupon testing is helpful but can never give full confidence because of the chance that coupons might not be fully representative. Particularly joining dissimilar materials can be challenging, yet combination of metal and composites is a natural evolution step.
• Some barrier effect is also a problem. For example fire risk is another constraint. Making fire smoke and toxicity properties acceptable has required addition of active products. A loaded resin is generally more difficult to process them.
• There are no standard regulations specific to composites. For all the European countries, Harmonization efforts should be done at European level.
• Necessary to rethink the design. For example composite part could have superior integration because there are fewer joints. In series production runs, they can be cheaper to manufacture than metal cabs.

So the limited development composites should be also explained by the necessity to have complementarity of the expertises: polymer, resin, textile, rheology, automation.

So MADMAX consortium have the ultimate goal is to build a solid industrial and research network to:
• Transform traditional industry to increase productivity through new processes, high-added value products and new business models;
• Fostering scale-intensive and specialised suppliers industry through the adoption and integration of new advanced technologies thus enabling the improvement of its leadership in the global market
• Promoting Science-based Industry which will play a key role in establishing a highvalue European industry. It will need the integration of most of the advanced technologies dealt with in Materials and Production activities, enabling the development of new, high value, products and services, processes and even leading to new industries.
• Towards a sustainable supply industry is another key objective in supporting product and productivity innovation, especially for sectors with a large environmental impact.

Project Results:
The consortium was composed by existing cluster and academic partners, SME’s and Large industrials. Industrial partners involved in the project have a very good complementarity regarding their own activities. Partnership gathers SMEs along the whole production chain of end-products and brings its expertise for the optimal development of innovative products and processes.

The project resulted into the production of a roadmap for composites in transportation sectors.
In addition, an association will be set up to gather actors of the composites materials in transportation, at the European level.

The MADMAX project contributes to the development of a European “Know-How” platform and database for excellence in high per-forming fibers and resins, textile reinforcing structures and sensor monitoring composite structures, fostering the transfer of scientific results to civil transport markets and especially to SME’s. The objective of the MADMAX project is to or-ganize a cluster of private and academic laboratories supported by key manufac-turers from transport sectors and to investigate the possibility of benchmarking specific composites.

The starting point of Madmax project was first to identify the industrial needs and technological limits regarding composites in transport sectors. For that, inter-views of key employees in transport industries (automotive, aeronautic, railway and marine) were conducted.
Currently, composites development in transport industries is impeded by:
- A high price mass-ratio
Raw materials of composites (fibers and resins) are expensive.
- A lack of automated manufacturing processes
Without automated processes, manufacturing is cost consuming, the pro-duction rate is low and the end product quality control is difficult. In the marine industry, there is also the problem of mastering infusion process for large parts, and in the aeronautic, processes for thermoplastics are desired.
- Disparity in material properties
Because of the lack of automated processes to manufacture composites, it is not possible to obtain materials with calibrated properties, there is always a variability in end products properties. Thus, the current debate about composites certifications. Moreover, for the railway industry there are ad-ditional certifications requirements for fire resistance and for the aeronau-tic, qualification methods have to be developed for thermoplastics.
- A lack of knowledge in fatigue behavior
There is a lack of fatigue test results which impede to develop reliable age-ing behavior models and to have guarantees on lifetime prediction. The main question to be solved is: how to perform accelerating tests represent-ing 40 years of life? System Health Monitoring could certainly be of great help but still has to be developed. Additionally, for the marine industry there are degradations due to the marine environment.
- A lack of knowledge on joining techniques
Reliable joining techniques for composites (homo and hetero-junctions) still have to be developed. Thus there is also a lack of knowledge on joint fatigue behavior.

Major obstacles to composites development for each transport sector were re-vealed with this study. In automotive industry, the main obstacle is the lack of au-tomated manufacturing processes which impede the production of a car in a big series. In railway, fire resistance requirements are a major obstacle. For the marine industry, the main problems are the restricted use of combustible materials (SOLAS regulation) and the aggressive marine environment. Finally, for the aero-nautic industry the lack of knowledge on thermoplastics is an obstacle. This study also highlighted the fact that the railway sector is lagging behind the others transport sectors in terms of composites integration. However, a mentality change is required for all sectors and an effort on formation is necessary.

The book takes into consideration the domain of expertise of Madmax partners to precisely describe the technological limits and industrial needs previ-ously identified and to propose a research roadmap to reach the technologies of the future. Madmax partners are actually covering a quite large range of areas re-garding composites, thus all technical stages of composites development could be discussed in the book.

Madmax partners and authors have written this book to give their vision of the future regarding composite technologies in order to set off new research projects with partners from outside the consortium. So the book points out the boundaries of knowledge and can be seen as a call for projects. The book is divided into 7 chapters, each of them dealing with one stage of composites development: from raw materials, to textile reinforcement structures, to characterization methods, to modelling methods, to direct processing methods, to joining techniques and struc-tural health monitoring.

Potential Impact:
The final report details the potential impact on a partner per partner basis.

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