THE CHALLENGES FACING THE AEROSPACE INDUSTRY

Aerospace and Defense

The aerospace industry encompasses a wide range of industry sectors. All of these sectors have a wide range of suppliers each with their own technological requirements.

The Aerospace Challenges

Aerospace technology officially began more than a century ago with the first flight of the Wright brothers back in 1903 (just a few meters in the air, but a giant leap forward for humanity). Today the aerospace industry is serving hundred of thousands of people a day on aircrafts,  as well as placing thousands of satellites in orbit serving everyday’s life: from GPS to mobile phones, TV broadcasting and weather forecasts, the list is endless.

All this technology is driving several markets which are supplying the leading manufacturing industries for the assembly of civil and business.

Computer-Based Engineering in the Aerospace Industry

From a structural point of view, the aerospace industry requires integrity of each component at many different operating points, from take-off/landing to the upper atmosphere to outer space, where thermal gradients on satellites are extreme and greatly affect structural calculations.

In this regard, explicit dynamics simulation has become standard practice when investigating the effect of bird strike on an engine, evaluate blade containment strategies for fan blade out, or investigate the reasons for structural failure on a specific component.

As today’s civil aerospace industry accounts for about 2% of the worldwide CO2 production, a lot of research is taking place to develop lighter structures employing composite materials, in order to save weight, consume less fuel and therefore reduce the overall environmental impact.

For the same reasons, new solutions for civil engines have been developed, allowing them to become more efficient in terms of fuel consumption thanks to advanced CFD modeling techniques, applied to fuel injection and cooling systems, combustion chambers and augmentor design.

Aerodynamics is also an important topic of research in order to develop high-lift, efficient wing profiles both for cruise and take-off/landing operating conditions. Aerodynamic noise is also relevant here: CFD codes coupled with an acoustic solver have created a new discipline called CAA (Computational Aero Acoustic) to predict aero-acoustic noise. Another coupling takes place when CFD joins FEM in Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI), often employed to calculate the flutter phenomenon, as well as the rotor-dynamics of helicopters.

Electronic components have a high impact on the cost of aircrafts and helicopters. Therefore the field of Electromagnetism is very important for the aerospace market, as many devices can cause interference problems (we all need to turn off our mobiles at take-off and landing after all) and antennas signal integrity must be assured for navigational purposes. Finite Element Analysis and CFD is often employed for analyzing the stress/strain field on electronic components, deriving from dynamic loads as well as thermal gradients.

What can EnginSoft do for you?

As aerospace  is a mature industry, many components generally have had a long development history and are quite reliable and performing. Yet, the development of new, innovative technologies, along with the strife for continuous improvement of existing parts, makes FEM or CFD or EM calculations alone not enough. The real challenge is to integrate all of these technologies in a design and optimization process such as PIDO (Process Integration and Design Optimization). This is where the CAE market is moving, and that is where partnering with EnginSoft can make a real difference for your company.

At EnginSoft, we have a vast experience in multi-disciplinary simulation consulting for the aerospace industry. Some notable research/projects we have been working on lately and our areas of expertise are here reported:

  • Space: EnginSoft has been a key participant in MELiSSA (Micro Ecological Life Support System Alternative) and ALISSE (Alternative Life Support System Evaluator) research projects, to develop the technology required for a future biological life support system for long term manned space missions, sponsored by the European Space Agency ESA; has performed thermo-structural analysis for satellite electronics housing using ESAComp (a software for the design of composite structures, developed by Componeering, a company co-founded by Enginsoft); performed explicit dynamics simulations to optimize airbag deployment on the ExoMars rover
  • Aircrafts: structural optimization of composite wings; turbine inlet design and optimization; aeroacoustics of jet engines; multi-phase fluid modeling and spray atomization; design of aeroengines components such as combustors, high- and low- pressure turbines, gear pumps and breathers; bird strike and fan blade out analysis.

Case Study

  • Optimizing the Aerodynamic Efficiency of an Aircraft Nacelle

    The nacelle is the cover or housing that holds engines, equipment, or fuel on an aircraft. Its design is crucial to the overall aerodynamic efficiency of the aircraft as it often holds key components such as the engine that cannot themselves be easily optimized for aerodynamic efficiency. Given the components the nacelle may house, certain properties, such as the air mass flow intake needed for the engine, needs to be maintained, while reducing the overall drag to increase aerodynamic efficiency. Learn more ...

  • Integrated Design of an Aeronautical Angular Gearbox

    The scope of this study was to determine and validate a more efficient simulation procedure for the design phase of Al-Si alloy components for the aeronautical industry. The study combines the simulation of the manufacturing process with that of the component’s structural behavior to create a better predictive tool that is able to analyze the component’s behavior over its life cycle. Learn more ...

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