Concept and Objectives:
The ALaSCA project focuses on maximum weight and cost reduction significant in airframes by developing manufacture-optimized lattice fuselage structures fulfilling fundamental aspects of airworthiness.
The idea behind the ALaSCA project is to perform a comprehensive investigation starting with the beneficial geodesic design well-proven in space technology and transferring it to composite aircraft fuselage designs. The main objectives of this research programme are: a) Maximum weight and cost reduction by using lattice designs for fuselage structures. b) Development of manufacture-optimized lattice designs satisfying airworthiness requirements. c) Verification of airworthiness by manufacture and testing of representative lattice components.
Since structural requirements and boundary conditions in rocket technology are quite different from those in aircraft fuselage design, the scope of this project covers the specific aspects of design, sizing, manufacture and testing of lattice structures that follow from aircraft requirements. The objectives will only be achieved when solutions to the following issues in terms of lay-out, design, sizing, manufacture, and testing are found: a) Pro-lattice aircraft configurations for maximum weight and cost savings b) Aircraft specific components treated in the lattice fuselage design. c) Lattice elements, i.e. examination in the aircraft-specific detailed design of loads from impact and internal pressure.
Applying the above-mentioned methodology, the objectives will be achieved by main innovations in the following areas: a) Structural concepts for long service-life periods b) Design and dimensioning of cut-out surround structures c) Optimized floor-barrel interface. d) Barrel-barrel interface. e) Aircraft configurations reducing the demand for large cut-outs and interfaces in lattice fuselage sections. f) Process chain: preliminary design, sizing, detailed design, manufacturing, testing, validation, cost and weight analysis.
ALASCA Results in brief:
Lattice structures for stronger, safer aircraft
Lattice structures offer a strong, lightweight solution for aeroplane fuselages. They have been used in space craft for decades, but researchers are now optimising the lattice design for use in conventional aircraft.
In order to improve safety and efficiency of air transport, new composite materials such as carbon fibre reinforced polymer are being considered to replace traditional sheeting. Lattice structures used for spacefaring rockets preserve strength and safety, and are thus an attractive option for composite materials.
Several major aerospace companies are working together to develop such lattice frames for mass production. Their efforts are funded by the EU as part of the ‘Advanced lattice structures for composite airframes’ (ALASCA) project.
A number of aeroplane configurations were compared for optimal manufacturing efficiency and fuselage barrel design to identify the most suitable design. In addition, a document detailing the technical specifications of this design has been completed. The team also generated a software model to analyse and optimise the lattice design for the fuselage barrel.
Further work on this project will see the manufacture of lattice-structured aeroplane parts, including the fuselage barrel, as well as testing for airworthiness. The ALASCA project has the potential to significantly reduce the costs and weight of manufactured aeroplane parts, without compromising on safety or efficiency.