Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ARTIMA — Result In Brief

Project ID: 502725
Funded under: FP6-AEROSPACE
Country: Spain

Smart materials for safer planes

Smart or responsive materials are those that change in response to their environment and are capable of self-repair, much like biological systems – hence the characterisation smart. An EU-funded project built on the latest advances in smart materials and technologies to significantly enhance aircraft safety and comfort.
Smart materials for safer planes
Many materials change in response to stimuli, for example shrinking in response to decreasing temperature and expanding when heated. The difference with smart materials is in the amplitude of their response. A much larger response means a lot of good things from an engineering point of view – a tuneable band in which one can correlate a given input to a given output with greater precision or a big change in properties that doesn’t require a tremendous input, to name a few.

Smart materials are being used with success for reducing noise and vibration. The ‘Aircraft reliability through intelligent materials application’ (Artima) project was designed to build on the previous 20 years of research on smart materials to achieve a monumental advance in real-time structural health monitoring (SHM) for aircraft.

Specifically, the project focused on applying smart materials to vibration control (and thus noise reduction and reduction of vibration fatigue of parts), as well as detection of potential or existing materials damage (SHM). Both of which aim to increase aircraft reliability while decreasing maintenance costs.

Currently, aircraft maintenance is largely corrective or at best carried out at specific times. Replacing corrective or scheduled maintenance with continuous onboard monitoring would enable predictive and proactive maintenance procedures, significantly enhancing safety while reducing maintenance costs and lost profits due to cancellations and delays.

The Artima project tested the most promising materials and methods on large components, including a metallic corporate jet body or fuselage, rotor blades and an active unmanned aerial vehicle wing.

Thus, the Artima project represented a final push to provide realistic industrial solutions for aircraft safety using state-of-the-art smart materials and technologies. Results of the Artima project regarding SHM are expected to significantly increase safety while providing a substantial decrease in operating and maintenance costs. In addition, outcomes with respect to vibration control and noise reduction should further enhance safety and improve passenger comfort. Enhanced safety and comfort of European aircraft will provide a competitive edge for the European aerospace industry regarding design and manufacturing as well as consumer satisfaction and confidence.

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