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Adaptive Multifunctional Test Rigs for Aeronautical Structures

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - AMTRAS (Adaptive Multifunctional Test Rigs for Aeronautical Structures)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2020-10-31

CleanSky 2 has addressed the development of new aircraft concepts and architectures including new materials and manufacturing. In this respect, Adaptive Multifunctional Test Rigs for Aeronautical Structures (hereinafter, AMTRAS) project will contribute to the CleanSky 2 objectives with the development of innovative multifunctional Test Rigs, with high performance instrumentation and multishape capability ready to test structural behavior of new materials (test panels) and full-scale demonstrators (tail cone) representative of those architectures. The flexibility and accuracy provided by AMTRAS Test Rigs will contribute to time-to-market minimization by significantly reducing the time span from concept to validated design
To achieve flexibility, AMTRAS will be built by:
• Adaptive fixtures that will allow to reuse old/obsolete test rigs, reducing cost and time in development and validation stages
• Adaptive test bench for big aerospace components
• Machine Vision based Non-contact deformation monitoring and measurement system.
• High accuracy FEM model simulations
Objective 1: To design and develop flexible mechanical systems for integration on adaptive multifunctional Tests Rigs
• To design shape-adaptive flexible tooling system
• To design Test Rig platform with several mounting position to ensure multishape adaptability
Objective 2: To develop new monitoring systems based on machine vision
• To define Non-contact monitoring technology applied to online distortion measurement for aeronautical structures and defects detection
• To develop a Machine Vision based deformation monitoring and measurement system
Objective 3: To develop a numerical simulation model based on FEM
• To develop numerical simulations tools to assist the conceptual/design/manufacturing stages of the process.
• To perform high accuracy numerical simulation models to predict the results of the Tests
Objective 4: To integrate and validate adaptive multifunctional Tests Rigs
• To develop an adaptive multifunctional Test Rig for structural test of multishape panels
• To develop an adaptive multifunctional Test Rig for structural test on Tail unit
• Delivery and final validation and adjustment in Topic Manager facilities
As part of the main objectives of the project, three adaptive multifunctional test rigs have been successfully delivered and integrated, with ADS as the final user. It is important to mention all the different stages that this kind of projects go through until a test rig can be delivered:
• Definition of requirements: as the first step before starting any designs, all the requirements for the test plan need to be defined, in whose process AIMEN has been an important party involved.
• Design: once the requirements are approved and validated, AIMEN started the designs according to this specifications and necessities.
• Simulation: in parallel to the designs, a numerical simulation model has been created for each test rig in order to optimize and pre-validate those designs prior to manufacturing
• Manufacturing and validation.
Another test rig has been designed and integrated as part of the objectives of the project during the P3, in this case with AHE as the final user to validate a new concept of rotorless tail helicopter, and the process has been similar to the test rigs for ADS, working all together with third parties involved to develop a test rig that assures the excellency in a very complex and challenging test
In parallel, a lot of effort has been put into different management tasks, to avoid misalignments between the different parties involved in the project.
As commented before, another key area of the project is the development of new numerical simulation models, which help in the design process, saving time and costs as well as optimizing the designs according to the mechanical stress of the different test configurations. This kind of technology brings the possibility to study the behavior of the test rig and specimen prior to the manufacturing, taking steps back in the design or even modify the requirements of the test if needed, which is very important in the development stages of any industry.
One key aspect of the project is the development of a new machine vision system to control the deformation and acquire different data from the mechanical test. After different test in AIMEN facilities, we can assure that this kind of technology is a serious candidate to substitute the conventional measuring methods for mechanical test thanks to its accuracy and consistency in the results obtained, but the conditions of the test and the size of the specimens in AMTRAS do not allow us to use this kind of technology yet.
In the first stages of the project, a website was created to disseminate and communicate the final results of the project, and during the P3 this website has been updated with all the information about global objectives of the project, the different parts covered, the results obtained during the whole duration of the project and different dissemination activities that have been performed or will take place in a near future.
As main results achieved during the AMTRAS Project, need special mention the successful integration of adaptive test rigs for mechanical testing and the implementation of the numerical simulation models, that will help keep the leadership of European aerospace companies by providing them shorter and cheaper development and validation stages for their new products. Another result achieved, beyond the fact that the results were not as successful as it was foreseen at the beginning of the project, is the use of machine vision as substitute for the conventional measuring technology, that is easily usable in small specimen during tensile tests, but as studied during the AMTRAS project, much more difficult and expensive to implement in big, complex aircraft components.
In this regard, there are two key points of the project that mean a progress over the existing technology: testing rigs adaptation and FEM simulation models.
In many industries it is necessary to test and validate designs and manufacturing technologies, and conventionally, a new test rig is designed and developed for each testing specimen. AIMEN has adapted old test rigs in order to reuse them for new testing purposes. With this scenario we can focus our efforts and budget in optimizing the designs of the adapting tool, saving times and manufacturing cost when developing and validating new technologies, materials and/or aircraft components new designs.
When talking of FEM simulation, as indicated in the project proposal document, many works have already been carried out, but every scenario is different, so the main goal was to develop new simulation for the AMTRAS flexible tooling specifically. Every test configuration has been studied, and specific focus and solutions have been applied in each case. The application of FEM simulation has had an important impact in time and cost savings and also in the AHE´s rotorless tail design, it has been the most important resource to achieve an optimized design for many parts of the load application system.
Screenshot for Bank design without the AHE part
Screenshot for Bank design