DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
FraME will contribute to novel structural and manufacturing solutions following the DLR’s Guiding Concepts for Electric Aircraft and demonstrate an overall structural concept for a future green aircraft. The FraME project sets the essential basis for achieving a multifunctional fuselage, parts of which will be physically demonstrated, and will also contribute significantly to achieving an aircraft component and aircraft system for high-rate manufacturing and assembly of future short-range electric aircraft.
By bundling the competences of five DLR institutes with the expertise in structural materials and design, production technologies, MRO, cabin and aircraft systems, technologies for novel integrated construction methods of future aircraft fuselage structures as well as their production and maintenance will be developed and demonstrated in partial technologies. The aim is to develop a fuselage structure that enables a significant reduction in structural weight through functional integration and novel lightweight construction methods. The weight reduction is seen as essential for the realisation of an electrically or hybrid-electrically powered aircraft and selected technologies for the production of such an aircraft are being developed.
In this project, the Institute of Structures and Design works on the further development of existing deposition and joining technologies for the production of an integral side shell. Different materials and methods of inline quality assurance and data acquisition are used. Regarding thermoset preforms, the institute has expertise in material deposition using pick & place, continuous deposition of dry fibre fabric or DFP technology. This field is complemented by research work on infiltration processes including the deposition of auxiliary materials and vacuum build-up.
The production of fibre-reinforced metal laminates (FML) has already been the subject of technology development projects in the past. Where glass fibre prepreg is commonly used in this process, now the infusion-based process of dry glass fibre fabrics is under investigation. This application could make the preform of the structure simpler and more stable and make utilisation of FML more tantalizing again for industrial applications.
Regarding to thermoplastic and hybrid joining processes, two welding technologies are used at the Augsburg site: the electric resistance welding and ultrasonic welding.
Various inline and downstream testing methods enable validation of all process steps and provide reliable information on component quality. Examples are edge detection by laser light section as well as fiber angle, thermography and ultrasonic measurements.