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IMDEA Design Advanced Shields Against High-Velocity Ice Impact

26 September 2010

The IMDEA Materials Institute will design the innovative composite shields against high velocity ice impact for the Airbus A30X next generation aircraft.

IMDEA Materials will develop new multifunctional and multimaterials shield concepts and will use advanced numerical simulations to optimize the performance of the different designs.

Airbus is already planning its A30X next generation aircraft to replace the A320, the standard Airbus jet airliner for short- to medium-range routes. The aircraft manufacturer has been evaluating new configurations through the European Union-funded Nacre (New Aircraft Concepts Research) project, including forward-swept wings, rear-mounted turbofan and open-rotor engines, and vertical tailplanes (see figures). In particular, open-rotor engines cannot be wing-mounted as traditional turbofans and should be positioned on the empennage to shield the ground from powerplant noise. This new configuration needs to assess the effect of impact by ice slabs from propeller blades into composites panels and to design advanced shields against high-velocity ice impact.

Airbus Operations has entrusted this task to IMDEA Materials, which has appointed a multidiscipinary team, led by Dr. C. Gonzalez, head of the research group on Structural Composites, and including Dr. R. Seltzer and Prof. J. LLorca, to design, manufacture, and validate innovative composite shields against high velocity ice impact. IMDEA Materials will develop new multifunctional and multimaterials shield designs and manufacture coupons and panels for demonstration.

IMDEA Materials, in collaboration with the Carlos III University and the Polytechnic University of Madrid, will use advanced numerical simulations to optimize the performance of the different designs under impact to meet weight and thickness constraints. The behaviour of the optimized designs will be experimentally validated against high-velocity impact of ice slabs at the Carlos III University. Damage during impact will be assessed using NDE techniques (ultrasounds and X-ray microtomography). In addition, the experimental results in terms of mechanical performance and damage will be used to improve the accuracy and predictive capabilities of the simulations tools.






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