The drive to improve performance and efficiency of modern aircraft structures has seen a significant increase in the use of Carbon and Glass fibre reinforced composite materials. Whilst these materials offer a potential increase in specific strength and stiffness over more traditional metallic materials, their behaviour under load, environment and damage is very different to the well-understood behaviour of metals. A rigorous pyramid of analysis and structure testing is required to demonstrate the safety and reliability of any structure made with composite materials that will be used in civil aircraft.
Prof Ian Lane is a Senior Expert in Structural Analysis at Airbus. He is based in Bristol but operates transnationally to oversee the correct application of sizing methods and tests for the design and certification of composite materials. His mission also includes enabling the effective use of research and technology to push the boundaries of civil aircraft structures. He will describe some of the challenges faced in the certification process of Airbus’ newest civil airliner, the A350XWB and will discuss the possibilities for future aircraft structures.