A Japanese government-funded research institute is to conduct a joint study with Airbus focusing on the development of technologies to evaluate the robustness of carbonfibre composite structures.

Airbus says it will work on the study with Japan's R&D Institute of Metal and Composites for Future Industries (RIMCOF), a state-funded group of industrial companies, government agencies and academic laboratories. The European manufacturer says it will work with RIMCOF member companies Fuji Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on the five-year study, which will cover "technology evaluation, component test and technology optimisation for application to commercial aircraft".

Airbus says the project will focus on the development of structural health monitoring (SHM) technology that will enable the detection of "invisible strain or cracks" through sensors embedded in or bonded to the surface of composite structures of aircraft.

"The SHM system is similar to [the] human nerve system in which the brain senses pain or uneasiness in [the] human body," the manufacturer says. "When applied, this SHM technology would immediately detect faults or abnormal transformations caused in the aircraft structure even during flight."

Source: Flight International