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Optimisation of Friction Stir Welding (FSW) and Laser Beam Welding (LBW) for assembly of structural aircraft parts

Objective

Riveting is the defacto method for the assembly of aluminium aerostructures, with large commercial aircraft fuselages typically containing 100’000s of rivets. However, riveting is known as a time-consuming, expensive and weight-adding operation. From a design perspective, it also places holes and point loads in a cyclically pressurised structure, subject to long-term fatigue loading and corrosion. Thus is not an ideal solution for these types of structures.

With developments in precision laser beam welding (LBW) and friction stir welding (FSW), it is now possible to fabricate “rivetless” aluminium aerostructures using welding processes. These new processes produce a lighter weight, distributed load path with the potential for enhanced strength and structural stiffness, ‘no holes’ and a smoother (more aerodynamic) surface. In addition to being more structurally efficient, the new processes are cheaper and reduce inspection & maintenance requirements.

The OASIS project will establish and demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of manufacturing aluminium aircraft structures using the latest developments in LBW and FSW (with appropriate inspection to aerospace standards). The project is led by TWI, who are leaders in both LBW and FSW techniques. Together with 6 other European organisations, we will design, demonstrate and evaluate the suitability of a range of process variants in creating optimised aluminium aircraft structures, including appropriateness for emerging alloys (e.g. 3rd generation Al-Li, 2nd gen Scalmalloy®). ESAB who will offer a commercial route for adoption of suitable processes; as suppliers of both LBW and FSW solutions to the European aerospace supply-chain (and who hold unique FSW IP).

The impact of OASIS will ultimately allow improved design and manufacture of lighter-weight aluminium aircraft structures. This will contribute to the flightpath 2050 goals of reduced fuel burn, superior operating efficiencies and reduced emissions.

Call for proposal

H2020-CS2-CFP06-2017-01
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Coordinator

TWI LIMITED
Address
Granta Park Great Abington
CB21 6AL Cambridge
United Kingdom
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 690 223,76

Participants (6)

ESAB Aktiebolag
Sweden
EU contribution
€ 82 806,25
Address
Lindholmsallen 9
40277 Göteborg
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
ROMAERO SA
Romania
EU contribution
€ 101 110
Address
Bvd Ficusului 44 Sector 1
013975 Bucuresti
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
VYZKUMNY A ZKUSEBNI LETECKY USTAV AS
Czechia
EU contribution
€ 194 000
Address
Letnany Beranovych 130
19000 Praha 18
Activity type
Research Organisations
HOGSKOLAN VAST
Sweden
EU contribution
€ 182 677,50
Address
Hogskolan Vast
461 86 Trollhattan
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
GEONX SA
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 49 270,49
Address
Rue Santos Dumont 7A Bloc C
6041 Gosselies
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
THE QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY OF BELFAST
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 99 695
Address
University Road Lanyon Building
BT7 1NN Belfast
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments