Embraer is one of the largest aerospace manufacturing companies in the world. Based in Brazil, it has been established for over 45 years and employs over 19,000 staff from 20 nationalities. The multi-national organisation design, develop, manufacture and sell aircrafts to the commercial and executive aviation markets and provide customised solutions and bespoke systems to the defence and security industries.

The Challenge

Although the use of composite material brings significant advantages, the material characterisation and design methods historically developed for metallic materials cannot be adopted for composite materials in a straightforward manner, bringing a new set of challenges to the aviation industry.

Meeting the Challenge

Professor S. Adhikari of Swansea University’s College of Engineering is working with Embraer to explore the characteristics of new composite materials that offer significant advantages to the design of planes in terms of weight, strength, stability and durability over metallic materials.

Traditionally, computer-based modelling has been used in the design of planes, simulating how metallic materials will behave when subjected to various conditions. In a process known as uncertainty quantification (UQ), factors that cannot be reliably predicted have been identified and quantified and, where possible, reduced as part of the design process.

Expected Outcomes

Professor S. Adhikari is working with Embraer to develop the next generation of design and analysis methods that will consider the different types of uncertainties associated with composite materials. The new method will result in the robust and reliable design of light weight, fuel efficient future aircrafts.

The collaboration between Embraer and Swansea University will put both institutions at the forefront of uncertainty quantification (UQ) based design methods for dynamic analysis of composite structures.

"Working with external partners is fundamental, both in terms of furthering the impact and reach of our research, and in supporting desperately needed economic regeneration within the region through the exchange of knowledge between ourselves and external organisations. For our partners, this offers them the opportunity to tap into our research capability, on demand, without having to invest in dedicated facilities, equipment or personnel." Professor S. Adhikari, Swansea University

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