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Development and Execution of innovative test procedures for vaLidation of Thermoplastic Aircraft fuselage panels

Project description

Composite fuselage structures put to the test

Thermoplastic composites boast outstanding characteristics such as repairability and recyclability, making them increasingly valuable in the aviation industry. Comprising a polymer matrix with embedded inclusions normally of carbon fibre, their properties can be designed as they are dependent on the material typology and configurations used as well as the manufacturing process. The EU-funded DELTA project will carry out extensive stress analysis tests on composite fuselage parts produced by out-of-autoclave technology. This curing process is gaining widespread acceptance in the aerospace industry because it produces high-quality parts at a much lower cost, time and resources consumption compared to the traditional autoclave technology. Development and execution of innovative experimental testing procedures, will enable obtaining test results at structural detail and sub-component levels, which will help validate out-of-autoclave technology for the future production of fuselage parts using optimal material.


DELTA aims to develop and execute innovative experimental testing procedures for thermoplastic resin based carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRPs) aircraft fuselage panels. Based on test procedures applying representative stress states of the real loading cases to which fuselage is subjected at sub-component level, and single loading conditions at the level of structural details. The outcomes of this project will enable the validation of this concept design and out-of-autoclave manufacturing process proposed for a composite material with thermoplastic polymer matrix. Ultimately, validation of this structure will contribute to increase maturity level of multifunctional fuselage demonstrator pursued by LPA IADP Platform 2.

Composite material characterization has the particularity that the properties of the material are not only affected by the raw material but also highly influenced by the manufacturing process. Validation of this structure will contribute to increase maturity level of multifunctional fuselage demonstrator.

A test campaign will be defined and executed following Building Block Approach from structural details up to subcomponent level. First, key material properties will be obtained through low-complexity level tests. Then, a curved panel test system which allows to apply combined loading representative of aircraft in-service life conditions will be used. Innovative tooling solutions will be incorporated in the design of the panel interfaces which will be optimized through FEM simulations developed to assess the influence of the tooling on the load redistribution that occurs during the test execution. The test system enables a high level of accuracy while offering flexibility, as well as a reduction of costs and lead times. The intended testing campaign at the subcomponent level will allow TRL 6 demonstration, by applying coupled and uncoupled load states (e.g. pure compression, compression plus internal pressure).


Net EU contribution
€ 474 710,25
41309 La Rinconada Sevilla

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Sur Andalucía Sevilla
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 678 157,50