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Aircraft Reliability Through Intelligent Materials Application

Final Report Summary - ARTIMA (Aircraft Reliability Through Intelligent Materials Application)

For the last three years, twelve European organizations have been in this Specific Targeted Research Program (STREP) within the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) to achieve a leap improvement in aircraft reliability through the application of smart materials. These materials are considered ideal to both reduce the probability of failure through vibration control and to detect in time the defects that have already occurred.

The ARTIMA project has taken advantage of the wide knowledge accumulated over the last two decades by its participating organisations of development of smart materials and their applications. The most promising methods have been tested on large-scale specimens, including rotor blades, composite control surfaces, an active unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) wing, and a metallic corporate jet fuselage, apart from representative laboratory specimens.

Real time structural health monitoring (SHM) will not only improve the overall safety, but will also make it possible to replace corrective or preventive maintenance with much more efficient predictive or proactive maintenance procedures, thus reducing operation cost. Similarly, vibrations and noise levels will be significantly reduced by the use of smart actuators, which involve no moving parts, they can provide distributed actuation, and they can be integrated into metallic and composite structures with ease.

Project goals were achieved thanks to the fruitful network consisting of several manufacturing companies, research institutes and universities, leaded by Aernnova (Spain). These were DLR, Eurocopter and EADS (Germany), the FOI (Sweden), IFFM (Poland), IST (Portugal), Tecnatom and UPM (Spain), and USHF (United Kingdom).

The one-day workshop gave a broad idea of the state of the art in SHM and vibration control methods, covering the advances reached within the project in the fields of numerical simulation, laboratory work, full-scale structure instrumentation, and real-world applications. It was held at the Technological Park close to the monumental city of Vitoria, in Northern Spain.

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