Navigation path

Decrease textIncrease textDividerPrint versionRSSDivider

Cost Efficient Advanced Leading Edge Structure 2

Tags: Air


State of the Art - Background

The European Aerospace industry has developed significantly over the past 30 years, with many of its businesses established and recognised worldwide as technical leaders in aerospace engineering and manufacturing. To maintain this position the industry has to continue to develop its technical know-how. The COALESCE2 Project is an industrial collaboration study of new technology and design integration applied to aircraft fixed leading edge structure. A typical short range aircraft will be used as the platform for the studies because this type of product cost efficiency has a much greater significance for both airline and aircraft manufacturers. The predominant research activity will be to explore how the application of newly matured material and process technologies can be used to create new innovative, leading design solutions that offer simplified manufacturing and assembly routes and allow easy access to systems installations housed within the structure. There is also a growing interest in exploring other flight control mechanisms, not just those most common today, to understand whether they would better enable step change in aircraft performance and cost targets to be met. COALESCE2 is incorporating this possibility in its studies through development of structural design concepts that would support alternative mechanisms.


The primary aims are:

- To determine ways of achieving fixed, leading structural design that is over 30% more cost efficient than the highly fabricated structure that has been standard on aircraft for over 30 years;

- To examine and develop technology and integrated design options suitable for conventional and less conventional flight control mechanisms and show how they compare in enabling achievement of the challenging cost target;

- To demonstrate, through simulation, both the manufacturing/assembly process and the structural performance, showing the developed design and technology solutions meeting defined critical criteria. These will include the ability to both house, and have good access, to systems installations.

Description of Work

The project is subdivided into five operational working packages. WP1 will define the geometrical framework and minimum structural performance that must be reached by the concept developments and provide a definition of the criteria by which the technologies and design concepts will be evaluated. A cost assessment methodology will also be defined, to ensure a common approach is used throughout the project. In WP2 today's state-of-the-art leading edge structure will be reviewed and typical features will be selected for development. Manufacturing and assembly process studies will be carried out, including tooling lay-outs, and application to concepts will be evaluated. New materials and manufacturing process combinations will be studied. Executing mechanical tests will validate the performance of the structural details and joint assemblies. WP3 and WP4 will create innovative, low cost designs for a typical leading edge. The designs will be based on technology developed in WP2 and will be checked with reference to the criteria as created in WP1. WP3 will focus on configurations for a wing with a forward moving slat system and WP4 on alternative moveable configurations such as, for example, droop nose or Krueger flap. Tooling, manufacturing and assembly issues will be investigated to evaluate selected concepts and the associated production costs. WP5 will assess and evaluate the concept solutions from WP's 3 & 4 on the requirements specified in WP1 and determine the 'best' concepts to meet those requirements.

Expected Results

The metallic and composite technology developments performed and integrated into design solutions are not generic developments but are directed towards meeting the specified requirements that the primary European aircraft producers need to ensure future competitive products. Through these technological development activities, the partners will gain valuable knowledge about how the different technology options measure up against today's state-of-the-art options, understanding their relative strengths and weaknesses and how best to exploit them to create innovative, high-performing design solutions for fixed leading edge structures. This knowledge will be relevant not just to this project but may prove valuable in application to other Aerospace component developments. As most of the Partners have strong interests in the design and manufacture of aircraft components, this offers the potential for much wider exploitation opportunity beyond fixed leading edge structure.

One Part of Leading Edge area to be developed
One Part of Leading Edge area to be developed