Stuttgart, Germany: The European Union has sponsored a project called Bionic Aircraft, in collaboration with IT and software provider CENIT, to combat air pollution caused by airplanes.
The project began last year with a projected end date of August 2019. A group of 10 partners is working together on the project, which involves using bionic design and additive manufacturing for every part of the life cycle of an aircraft as well as to develop a more lightweight plane model that will increase resource efficiency and produce fewer emissions.
About a year into the project, its participants have reported that they have made quite a bit of progress. CENIT is developing its very first CATIA-based computer aided design (CAD) catalogue containing parametrically defined bionic features in order to create bionically optimised components.
Jochen Michael, senior consultant at CENIT remarked that the parametrisation of features will make it easier for designers to adjust geometries, boosting quality and rendering the design process more efficient.
Once the first bionic features in CAD have been programmed, CENIT will develop feature recognition, a software tool that analyses a topologically optimised component and allocates it, automatically if possible, to a functionally equivalent bionic component in the CAD catalogue. By the end of the project, CENIT plans to have developed a CAD catalogue containing roughly 10 to 15 bionic features.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Additive Production Technologies is also developing bionically optimised features based on analyses of quantitative characteristics, uses and benefits of topology-based components. The goal is to improve the components’ behaviour in daily use and to make them as stable and lightweight as possible.
The institutions involved in the Bionic Aircraft project have set objectives of reducing the time needed for end-to-end development of bionic components by about 40 percent to tremendously increase the weight-saving potential of additively manufactured structures. The consortium will present its results so far to EU Commission at the midterm review of the project in April this year.