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Out of autoclave technologies for frame and shear tie of Regional Aircraft

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COFRARE 2020 (Out of autoclave technologies for frame and shear tie of Regional Aircraft)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-02-29

The main objective of COFRARE 2020 is to investigate the possibility to produce primary structure of aircraft through innovative materials and processes, that are sustainable and cost-efficient. The primary structure of an aircraft is the essential part of the body of the plane that provides the strength of the machine to resist the forces produced during flight. In the case of COFRARE 2020, the targeted components are the so-called C frames a series of components that surround internally the fuselage barrel and give circumferential strength.

The selected material for the C frame is the so-called composite, a combination of a resin and reinforcement with extraordinary strength to weight ratio which allows saving weight and so fuel consumption.

The manufacturing process is the so-called RTM a process that allows mixing resin and carbon fiber reinforcement, out of the autoclave, and cure it to get the desired component and quality.

The main difficulty is to validate an innovative process through numerical simulation and correlated experimental test to get the technology affordable and sustainable, by keeping low cost in tools and equipment necessary to produce them in a serial way.
The consortium collaborates with industry leaders in Optimizing the geometry of parts and material selection to find the best compromise in tool design and low-cost equipment. Several review meetings and comparison analyses were carried on with the Eng department to find the best balance.

The material procurement phase was strictly linked to the design phase and involved material manufacturers all over the world.

Trial characterization and numerical simulation were carried on to find the best correlation and find out the key parameters of the process to start the employment of serial production for higher volumes as required by the aerospace industry.

The quality standards and means of inspection are fundamental parts of the process to get the technology affordable.
In this period the manufacturing process based on low TRL has been developed and skills on governing the process and quality of the parts have been acquired, demonstrating the benefits of out of autoclave products. At the end of the project, around 1.000 prototypes will have been produced which will give huge information to implement the technology on a commercial basis.

When the products like C frames are manufactured based on the development of COFRARE 2020, there will be a consistent CO2 emission reduction based on the lower weight of the components and so the aircraft.

The new process will have a lower environmental impact, but also a low cost and higher industrial manufacturing efficiency process that leads to a benefit in the competitiveness of the European aerospace industry
cofrare items