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Cheap production technique for wings and blades


Sailplane market development in Europe is limited by the high costs of aircrafts (from 35.000 to 60.000 ECU). This high cost prevents a broad diffusion of sailplanes, especially in the broad potential market for training, clubs and private people The manufacturing process of wings and stabilisers for modern sailplanes (mainly lamination) has been recognised as the most important component (40%) of the total cost of the aircraft, as it mainly relies upon manual skill. However, wings and stabilisers manufacturing is hardly moveable to an industrial-automatised framework because the aerodynamic configurations currently applied require complex shapes and surface finishing. The prime proposer has developed at its own cost a flying prototype to get a preliminary feasibility of the idea, at least about the significant aerodynamic modifications studied in order to accomplish industrial manufacturing requirements. The prototype had a great success at important international competitions for industrial oriented sailplanes. The research program presented here below aims in general at the development of a cheap manufacturing technique (30% of cost reduction is expected) for composite structures for application on low cost sailplane wings. Also related markets could be interested by this innovation technique: propellers blades for eolic power generators, fans for cooling towers, windmills, etc. The research should cover the following fields: 1. aerodynamics, aiming at new wing shape definition, with a smaller surface and with constant cross section, oriented to a different production process 2. material and manufacturing process, aiming at the definition of an industrial process based upon low cost raw materials and/or ready-to-use components (external sheet, internal beams, etc.), with the lowest environmental impact 3. efficient design and testing methodologies, related to the selected processes, suitable for certification. The exploratory phase aims at defining reference material and manufacturing process, at selecting related markets to be involved and at evaluating the potential market impact.

Funding Scheme

EAW - Exploratory awards


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