CORDIS - EU research results

Design, development and flight qualification of a supercritical composite shaft drive line for tiltrotor main drive system

Project description

Twirling and tilting to lift and propel a new generation of civilian aircraft

Composite materials of high strength and stiffness are excellent candidates for aircraft drive shaft applications that transfer the torque from the engine to the rotor. However, damping in composites can be much greater than in most metals. In the "subcritical" speed range and at closer distances between components, this may not be an issue. In the supercritical regime of interest to applications involving longer distances as, for example, in helicopters and tilt rotors, it can lead to instabilities. The EU-funded STEADIEST project is developing two different architectures of a supercritical composite shaft drive line for the EU's first and fast tilt rotorcraft for the civilian sector.


The members of STEADIEST consortium (CONSEIL ET TECHNIQUE, Arts et Métiers university and Asquini MGP) have multidisciplinary competencies regarding composite materials, rotating drive shaft instabilities, design, manufacturing and testing for aeronautical business sector. Each of those three members is leading research and development work for innovative technologies or processes (composite manufacturing techniques, control of dynamic instabilities or concurrent engineering tool for early design). The attached proposal is developing the design, development and flight qualification of a supercritical composite shaft drive line for tilt rotor main drive system. STEADIEST is submitting two different architectures of drive line considering bending flexibility, supercritical damping technologies and monitoring capabilities while maintaining safety, reliability, maintainability and lightweight objectives.
Our main objectives will be to study and to develop innovative solutions on materials (use of composite shaft with metalic flanges and surface treatment issue), on drive line architecture (use of supercritical shaft coupled with subcritical shaft through flexible coupling) and on innovative device allowing high stability, high reliability and high safety.


Net EU contribution
€ 165 644,50
47200 Marmande

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Nouvelle-Aquitaine Aquitaine Lot-et-Garonne
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 236 635,00

Participants (3)