The use of composite materials in aeronautics industry has increased constantly over the last 35 years, due mainly to their high specific strength and stiffness combined with the possibility of designing complex geometry components that are more aerodynamically efficient than metals. But due to organic nature of polymeric matrix component, composite materials are electrically and thermally bad conductors and they tend to burn easily, emitting toxic gases and smoke. For that, they require affordable, effective and certifiable protection systems against atmospheric hazards such as icing, as well as fire and burning in case of accidents. Moreover, improved in field inspection techniques are required with the increased use of composite materials. Current technologies address those issues separately; ice protection is usually performed by mean of a metal mesh or foil incorporated into the outer ply of fabric on the skin of the structure, fire protection is performed with thermal barrier coatings on the structures and life monitoring is performed with embedded sensors. All of them add high weight penalty and complexity during the component manufacturing and posterior maintenance, even may go against the structural integrity of the component in some cases. LAYSA project aims for a new multifunctional layer to be integrated into composite structures, with ice and fire protection capacity. This can be achieved by integrating nanomaterials (NMs) such as Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) or Carbon Nanofibres (CNFs) within a polymeric matrix, so that the whole nanocompoiste can be integrated in the composite structure like a layer. The direct benefits of the proposed application include: a) Improve aircraft safety and security, b) Structural weight reduction and simplification of manufacturing processes and maintenance operations due to elimination of current metals mesh or foils, by replacement with multifunctional layer integrated in composite structure.
Fields of science
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Funding SchemeCP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project