NVvL lezing ‘Design and testing for composite aircraft Some highlights of NLR developments in the MAAXIMUS project’ op donderdag 22 oktober 2015


Design and testing for composite aircraft

Some highlights of NLR developments in the MAAXIMUS project’

door Jos Vankan, Wouter van den Brink (NLR)

donderdag 22 oktober 2015 (19:30 – 22:00 uur)

NLR Auditorium A (Anthony Fokkerweg 2, 1059 CM Amsterdam)


In the past decades the use of carbon fibre reinforced composite materials on commercial aircraft has been gradually increasing, reaching levels of up to about 50% of the structural weight of current state of the art aircraft like the Boeing B787 and the Airbus A350.

The MAAXIMUS project is a large EU funded FP7 research project, in which many new technologies have been investigated and developed for the design, manufacturing and testing of carbon composite aircraft structures. This paper presents an overview of the contributions of NLR to the MAAXIMUS project. The focus is on developments for the design and optimisation of composite structures manufactured with automated fibre placement, and on the virtual testing of large full-scale composite fuselage panels.

For example with automated fibre placement manufacturing, load paths can be locally controlled throughout the primary and secondary aircraft structure. Local elastic tailoring of composite laminate properties, like fibre orientation, thickness reductions or local reinforcements, can be integrated into the structure efficiently. As such the resulting fibre placed structures can be optimised to provide load-tailored local stiffness variations within plies over the whole structure.

The new composite material technologies as applied in the aircraft primary structure require extensive testing and validation, including for example full-scale testing of large composite fuselage panels. Such tests require quite advanced and complex test rigs with sufficient flexibility to accurately impose the required loads and boundary conditions on the considered test article: proper load introduction of shear and bending loads, airtight sealing to allow for pressurisation loading, correct fixation and loading of stringers, frames and floor beams. To successfully achieve such tests, accurate modelling and analyses of the detailed behaviour of the panel in the test rig is applied through extensive model studies (“virtual testing”) using large finite element (FE) models that take into account the relevant aspects of the test rig.


The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement n°213371 (MAAXIMUS, www.maaximus.eu).


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