Lightweight Structures

Increasing performance and efficiency while reducing environmental footprint means reducing weight.

The increasing use of lightweight materials such as CFRP in critical structures has transformed the way these structures are designed, manufactured and checked. The complex microscopic structure of these materials has an impact on how they interact with their environment.

Understanding the static or dynamic mechanical properties of composite structures, predicting their sensitivity to thermal, aerodynamic or acoustic loads and developing techniques that provide information on defects and flaws are some of the topics that get us started!

We believe that composite materials are the key to the integration of new functionality in structures. Our vision is to contribute to these developments - our focus being on material design and development of techniques for structural integrity assessment (SHM & NDT).


Structural Design

Composite materials gets its physical and functional  properties during the manufacturing process. The keyword is design for function. Some of the topics we are working on are:

  • Simulation of shape distorsion-effects in CFRP structures during curing and cooling. Application to tool design.
  • Strength analysis of composite structures.
  • Design of sandwich panels for optimal acoustic and vibration absorption properties.

Structural Health Monitoring and Nondestructive Testing

It is required to check the integrity of critical lightweight structures after manufacturing or in service in most applications where composite materials are used. The main bottleneck of the manufacturing process or the service-life assessment process is often identified as the NDT process. Therefore, there is a need for new techniques that are adapted to the challenges posed by composite materials.

We combine our knowledge of materials and processes with our simulation capabilities to develop and optimize SHM and NDT techniques:

  • Acousto-ultrasonic methods for rational inspection of complex composite structures : Development of inspection techniques based on sparse ultrasonic array and guided wave propagation.
  • "Effect of defects": FEM simulations of the effect of defects and flaws on the structural integrity and dynamic response of composite materials and structures.
  • Structural Health Monitoring: Integration of sensors and detection system with lightweight structures.
  • Experimental Modal Analysis: Ultrasonic testing and acoustic emission inspection.

Creo's laboratory includes an ultrasonic phased array system (Full Matrix Capture and Phased Array), a multi-channel acoustic emission system and LMS Scadas Mobile for acceleration and strain measurements.