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AlphaSTAR Clients Include:

Commercial Aircraft


As with all product development, time to market is a critical factor in the commercial aircraft sector. In addition to meeting critical design requirements-on time and on budget-airplane manufacturers must also comply with strict FAA certification requirements. The process is therefore heavily dependent on testing for validation of design. In deploying new materials and processing techniques, over reliance on testing becomes a trial and error process that will inevitably prolong the product development schedule, with a steep impact on cost.
For over two decades AlphaSTAR has been singularly focused on developing GENOA, an accurate and physics based analytical methodology for virtual testing of advanced materials. Our GENOA methodology has been continually validated by FAA, NIAR, NASA, as well as major aerospace companies. We deliver an essential capability for test guidance that supports the entire product development lifecycle. AlphaSTAR capabilities enable reduced testing at the material coupon level all the way up to predicting the response of major structural components. Furthermore, the central design objective of the GENOA methodology is ease of use; GENOA extends and augments standard industry practices and therefore broadens and protects aerospace manufacturers' current investment in technology.

Design

The following elements constitute the core of aircraft structural design:

  • Material selection
  • Structural sizing
  • Weight management
  • Manufacturing

AlphaSTAR can provide technical expertise in support of aircraft structural design as described below.

Material Selection

With broad knowledge and experience in material modeling and analysis, a large material data base can be put to use to assist in material selection. The database includes many classes of carbon and glass based polymers, adhesive bonds, and metal alloys. Thermo-mechanical-electrical properties are determined for various types of ASTM coupons under different environments to generate performance design envelope. If design requirements are not met by considered material, alternate materials can be used from the database. Efficient use of computational technology can accelerate the material qualification and characterization process, especially with respect to determining allowables with reduced testing. Important aspects that need to be accounted for in the material selection process pertain to uncertainties in material properties of the composites or metals and for scatter in manufacturing defects. The whole process was repeatedly demonstrated and validated by AlphaSTAR for a range of aerospace applications.

Structural Sizing

This category deals with deriving a shape of the structure capable of using the material to its fullest extent. The analysis will involve iterative design studies to optimize the shape of the structure to deliver minimum weight and meet requirements for durability and reliability. The shape of the structure is also governed by aerodynamics requirements. AlphaSTAR developed a verified computational technology to deliver a robust design of structural components that is insensitive to small changes in manufacturing or material properties. The capability integrates multi-scale progressive failure analysis and optimization and reliability methods to optimize the structure for minimum weight and cost and maximum durability and reliability.

Weight Management

Weight is always a great concern in aircraft design. Weight management can be handled more efficiently when the design process includes and considers advanced materials coupled with advanced simulation tools to assess feasibility of design concepts prior to build and test.

Manufacturing

The process of validating and qualifying new materials, processes, and manufacturing technologies has been developed and matured over the years. This process remains very expensive and cumbersome requiring as thousands of coupons are manufactured and tested per the FAA's building block strategy. AlphaSTAR can assist in the design and qualification of new aircrafts by reducing the number of specimens, elements, and sub-components that need to be manufactured for assisting in the certification.

Innovative cost-effective, energy efficient materials and manufacturing technologies are required to meet the commercial needs. During the design and leading up to certification of structural component, prototyping or full scale manufacturing might be in order to verify anticipated performance.