Concept and Objectives:
Within the past decades, a clear trend formed within the aeronautic industry of constantly driving industrial research towards new tailored materials as well as cost-effective, function-oriented, highly integrated and light-weight components. The driving forces behind this trend are found in the high demands of airlines and operators regarding efficiency, environment, safety, as well as passenger comfort.
Advanced composite materials and especially Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers (CFRP) are the most promising materials, which allow integrating these demands in the components of the aircraft of the future (e.g., fuselages, horizontal tail planes, propulsion components) and elevating the complexity of new components concerning shape and structure. The next generation of aircrafts, as the Airbus A350 XWB, aim to be made of more than 50% of composite materials.
The consequences of this increasing complexity are tremendously raising efforts in quality control. Conventional non-destructive testing methods are reaching their limits and become either extremely time-consuming or unusable for a full inspection.
QUICOM aims at taking the next big step in the development of aeronautic components. A new technology platform of highly detailed inspection methods will be developed, alongside with advanced composite modelling and simulation. This QUICOM technology platform contains novel, non-destructive, fully 3D, highly detailed, fast and economic techniques based on cutting edge X-ray computed tomography methods.
Using these novel means of data acquisition in conjunction with data analysis, modelling and simulation, QUICOM will facilitate, implement and establish a new era of CFRP development on all ranges of aeronautic components, namely small high volume parts, composite metallic parts and complex and large parts.
The project generates new concepts and methods based on cutting edge X-ray techniques. The aim is to escalate conventional non-destructive methods in aeronautics on the short run and to replace them on the long run.
In detail the following high level goals are targeted:
- Escalate and replace commonly used NDT techniques (e.g., ultrasonic inspections, micro cuts) by using X-ray computed tomography in aeronautics.
- Develop and apply advanced X-ray computed tomography techniques for characterizing aeronautic composites and components.
- Provide highly detailed, qualitative and quantitative 3D characterizations of inner and outer structures.
- Advanced application specific simulation and modelling of composites materials and parts.
Furthermore, QUICOM will contribute to the following:
- Reduction of the development costs of complex and large composite structures by 10%
- Reduction of the weight of the parts inspected with the QUICOM technology platform to 95%
- Provision of techniques for increased application of advanced light-weight high-temperature materials, especially in terms of precise characterizations propulsion components, as turbine blades
- Levelling up the use of fully integrated, complex composite components in order to replace components made by conventional materials
- Provision of a multi-scale progressive damage model for CFRP materials to assess the effect of initial defects on the tensile strength and fatigue life of the laminates
Besides these major goals QUICOM will cut the time to market thanks to the reduction of expensive and time consuming mechanical testing. Furthermore, it will stimulate the production efficiency as the characteristics of composites may be analyzed in detail. Thus, QUICOM leads to composite components of enhanced quality and reliability.
QUICOM Results in brief:
Results are integrated into a feedback cycle to boost composite development in the direction of saving weight without losing the demanded characteristics. More specifically, the QUICOM project is expected to escalate and replace commonly used NDT techniques (e.g. ultrasonic inspections, micro cuts) by using X-ray computed tomography in aeronautics. In addition, QUICOM involves the development and application of advanced X-ray computed tomography techniques for characterizing aeronautic composites and components. Another expected result of the project is related to the provision of highly detailed, qualitative and quantitative 3D characterizations of inner and outer structures. Last but not least, the QUICOM project is expected to enable advanced application, specific simulation and modeling of composites materials and parts.