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ADVance Integrated Composite Tail Cone

Tags: Air

State of the Art - Background

New requirements and ecological policies for greener aircraft have led the aeronautic industry to consider new approaches for aircraft development and manufacturing. The aircraft tail cone appears to be a strategic component for reducing aircraft noise, fuel consumption and nitrogen oxide emission, notably because of its integrated Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). The project's central focus is to design and manufacture a lightweight multilayer/multifunction and smart composite tail cone with no fasteners in a fully integrated structure, using a fully integrated and automated process, which results in significant cost savings.

In order to ensure a thinner, cheaper and safer system, new architecture, design concepts and manufacturing processes for the integrated tail cone should be investigated. The project brings together a consortium that has an overview of all the problems concerning tail cone structure and APU integration. Significant weight and cost savings are expected when the solutions to issues to be addressed by each of the partners have been consolidated in a design-to-cost approach.


Today, lightweight structures are mandatory in order to significantly reduce CO2

emissions of any aircraft, but unfortunately the production cost of low weight structures is higher than that of classical structures. To fulfil both society's needs and that of the European leadership, we propose the following detailed technical goals:

- Lowering production costs by 30% regarding the actual composite aero structure;

- Lowering weight by 10% regarding the actual composite aero structure;

- Specifying a new generation of composite architecture allowing an extensive function integration (acoustic, fireproof, electrical and strength);

- Significantly improving knowledge of interaction between innovative technologies allowing fully automated integrated processes, including automated dry perform;

- Trough Thickness Reinforcement and infusion process.

Description of Work

The ADVITAC project is divided into eight Work Packages (WPs).

WP1: Project management;

WP2: Integrated tail cone specifications: defining precisely the input data necessary to manage the technical issues ;

WP3: Composite structure design and architecture: defining a design and analysing the manufacturing process in order to identify real cost drivers;

WP4: Innovative process selection: selecting the best processes that are relevant to solving issues defined in the specification WP;

WP5: Manufacturing process enhancement: building on promising technologies, this WP will enhance the relevant processes from a cost and weight point of view;

WP6: Full-scale validation process: enabling the validation process to be applied to a full-scale tail cone demonstrator;

WP7: Full-scale experimental test: the effectiveness of the low weight and low-cost architecture will be demonstrated by different elements and detailed tests, such as fire and lightning tests;

WP8: Dissemination.

Expected Results

Automated and Integrated Processes, including automated fibre placement, TTR and infusion technology to the TRL 4/5 (reduction of assembly costs)leading to:

Fast and repeatable processing of dry reinforcement with AFP,

automated implementation of TTR, replacing the use of expensive titanium rivet and hand riveting processes, complete function integration by integrating parts with LRI applied to the latter fully integrated 3 dimensional reinforcement, and the implementation of innovative architecture of the Tailcone.

- Innovative solutions for the multi-material fibres placement process (carbon + optic fibres, carbon + metallic fibres);

-Innovative solutions for electrical continuity, thermal properties, and lightening to be used for multilayer composite;

- Specification and system for SHM sensor automated placement;

- Robust resin Infusion Process including control of nano particles repartitioning within the structure;

- Low cost infusion tools (mainly thanks to new solution for both thermal behaviour of the mould and better demoulding issues);

- System for low cost and automated dry stringer manufacture;

- Experimental measurement of nano particles effect on both electrical, mechanical and thermal behaviour of a composite structure;

- Verification on a scale one aircraft tail cone of industrial capabilities of innovative processes developed within ADVITAC;

- Calculation software for aero and vibro acoustic issues, innovative because taking into account composite properties.