The research activities in the Institute of Structures and Design are concerned with the development and implementation of composite materials with polymer and ceramic matrix in innovative, high performance structures. The developments are not only for aeronautics and aerospace applications, but also for general technical applications within alternative energy technologies, transportation and mechanical engineering.
Design and construction principles are hereby developed and validated, which under the given boundary conditions of the application, offer economical solutions with high reliability. This has been happening for more than 25 years in conjunction with national and international partners from the industry, the universities as well as in cooperation with international research institutes.
The demand to design new, more efficient and economical lightweight high performance structures, which are no longer achievable with the traditionally available materials and construction principles is the focus of research activities. New approaches on the basis of fibre reinforced composites and hybrid material combinations, have lead to innovative lightweight structures, which take advantage of the positive material characteristics and compensate material deficiencies through intelligent design concepts.
Particular attention is given to the development of economical manufacturing, processing and joining techniques for continuous fibre reinforced thermoset and thermo-plastic composites, as well as fibre reinforced ceramic materials. Worth mentioning here are high temperature components for engines and radomes as well as vacuum infiltration processes for large aircraft structures.
The application of fibre reinforced ceramic materials is concentrated on components for application temperatures of up to 2000 °C, such as thermal protection systems and re-entry components for aerospace applications. Further application possibilities are within transport and mechanical engineering (brakes, clutches, etc.), where the good wear and friction characteristics of the ceramic materials as well as their low weight are advantageous.
A further research priority lies in improving the structural integrity of heavy-duty load bearing structures under impact or crash conditions. In addition to crash simulation, for helicopters and aeroplanes (fuselage) as well as terrestrial transportation systems (train, bus, automobile), investigations on high velocity impact through foreign bodies (debris, bird strike) and explosion are conducted. The numerical simulation programs and the herewith designed structural components are verified experimentally.