ACCUBLADE project (CLEAN SKY): CIDAUT contributes to the validation of Active Gurney Flap systems for rotorcraft blades through innovative research on composites process and tooling design

One of the most challenging areas of research leaded by the Green Rotorcraft Consortium (GRC) within the Clean Sky Program was the development of Active Rotor Technologies as the Active Gurney Flap (AGF) systems, which enable a helicopter to operate with a reduced tip speed of its main rotor whilst preserving the current flight capabilities. The on-going validation of innovative AGF systems by the GRC required the manufacturing and testing in wind tunnel tests of small scale composite model blades before their implementation at full scale. The integration of the AGF systems into the model blades (figure 1) demanded a precise process and tooling design in order to allow an accurate assembly for an efficient performance.

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Figure 1 Scheme of rotorcraft model blade with AFG system

Due to the small scale, the dimensional tolerances of the model rotor blade were very tight (less than +/- 0,1mm on the aerodynamic profile). This fact represented a great challenge for process and tooling design. Actually, to fulfil those tight tolerances, not only the mould had to be machined with very high precision means, but also the cavity design had to be designed with special consideration for minimizing any shape distortion induced by the process due to the different thermal and chemical shrinkage of the materials.

In close collaboration with the GRC consortium, CIDAUT contributed with its expertise in composite materials processing, and an innovative tooling design methodology. This methodology was based in process simulations capable of predicting distortions and solving process related issues from the early design stage. The methodology also avoided the need for expensive and long lasting trial and error procedures. Process simulation models developed by CIDAUT in the ACCUBLADE project included thermal and impregnation simulations for the analysis and optimization of critical process related issues, such as shape distortions caused by the different CTE of the materials, temperature gradients, or potential resin flow defects.

Laboratory characterisation tests were carried out with the selected materials in order to determine the required input data for the modelling of the most relevant causes of distortions when processing composite materials, including the warping and spring-in phenomena. Process simulation models were well correlated with experimental results obtained through the processing of flat and C-profile coupons with different layups and curing conditions (figure 2).

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Figure 2 Simulation of process induced distortions: warping and spring-in phenomena

Based on the results of process simulations, the design of the suite of tools required for the processing of the model blades was optimized. This included the selection of the optimum tool materials, the definition of the proper alignment and clamping systems, and the integration of an efficient and homogenous heating and cooling system with in-mould sensors. Also, with the aim of evaluating potential improvements in the manufacturing process in terms of quality and costs, the mould was designed and manufactured allowing the evaluation of two alternative processes, both aimed at producing the same net model rotor blade product: compression moulding and SQRTM.

All tools were manufactured by CIDAUT using very fine milling means, and inspected to guarantee the fulfilment of the requirement specifications before putting them at the disposal of the GRC consortium for the processing of the model blades. The first three model blades produced with the tools (figure 3) were used for the validation of process and tooling designs, being subjected to destructive and non-destructive inspection tests including mechanical substantiation tests with fully satisfactory results.

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Figure 3 Rotorcraft model blade produced for the integration of AGF systems

3, 2, 1… Countdown for EVolution Prototypes Manufacturing

The EVolution Project is nowadays crossing its midterm on its amazing journey. Our itinerary began with a Pininfarina city car concept (The Nido, a Full Electric Vehicle and with an Aluminium BiW), and hopefully will arrive to a vehicle prototyped with the most representative components (Under body, Structural node, Crash cross beam and crash box, Suspension mechanical sub-frame, and Side-door) developed in advanced metallic materials and reinforced composites. Joining and manufacturing technologies, as well as recyclability, modularity, ergonomics and safety are main topics considered within the developed activities. All of this without forgetting the main premise in all Electric Vehicle design: weight reduction.

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Evolution work efforts are distributed in different Work Packages; those are related as the following graphic shows:

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The first block is already reaching its final step: up-scaling of manufacturing technologies for components selected as real demonstrators in this project.

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Once the first large block of work is finished, the prototypes will be manufactured and assembled for real test to validate previous stage design.

At the same time, an important work for Dissemination and Exploitation activities was developed during these last months. The impulse came from the Exploitation Strategy Seminar received.

It has been a short but interesting time; all partners are eager to start developing the prototypes and achieve the next stage. In the following months Evolution partners will demonstrate the potential of the designs and the materials in order to achieve the ambitious weight reduction target. Don’t forget to follow Evolution progress on our web site: http://evolutionproject.eu/

CIDAUT in MATCOMP 2015: The XI National Congress on Composite Materials

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The XI Spanish National Congress on Composite Materials is organized by the Rey Juan Carlos University, AEMAC and FIDAMC, and its main sponsors are AIRBUS Group, ACITURRI, AERNNOVA, HEXCEL, ALESTIS Aerospace and TEAMS. CIDAUT participated presenting two different papers, one dedicated to development of material models for short fibre reinforced materials entitled “Implementación de una Metodología para considerar el Proceso de Inyección en el Diseño de Componentes Reforzados con Fibra Corta”, and a second one focused on the implementation of design methodologies for continuous carbon fibre composites for automotive safety components entitled “Procedimientos de Optimización para el Diseño de Componentes de Seguridad Activa en Materiales Compuestos”.

The MATCOMP series of National Congresses is one of the most important meetings between the academic, scientific and industrial communities within the composite materials field in Spain. The main objective was the establishment of a communication channel between the industry and the technical and scientific community to promote research, development, innovation

This year CIDAUT’s contribution was focused on the design of automotive components. Nowadays everything turn around weight reduction, new environmental standards, less emissions, therefore all this inputs are calling for sustainability in mobility, which will be achieved with less pollution power trains and light weight designs.

Short fibre reinforced components have considerably improved mechanical properties in terms of stiffness and structural strength thanks to the fibre contribution to their performance. Though used in the automotive industry for a long time, the influence of the manufacturing process is seldom taken into account because of the lack of an easy design methodology. CIDAUT research goes through combining complex material models with thermal and mechanical behavior in order to fulfill the OEM requirements and offer a light and high performance product.

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If weight reduction is considered, then advanced composite materials, and especially those combining continuous fibre with plastic matrix are very well poised for growth. In this context our research carries out the development of a suspension arm, continuous fibre and plastic matrix is rarely found in active safety components. The most critical load cases have been selected from the most common maneuvers of the B segment vehicle. The packaging and manufacturing requirements have been taken account during the development. Besides, new joints have been developed between the control arm and the surrounding components, due to it has not been possible to apply the same solutions that in metallic parts.

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Finally we have accomplished the objectives, developing a control arm with a mass reduction over 40% and the same performance of a metal predecessor.

If you want to know more about our researches in the field of composite materials, get in touch with us, we are always happy to share our experiences and find new collaboration opportunities. www.cidaut.es/en/contact

REMART: End of the project

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Since April 2013, CIDAUT has been coordinating REMART project, carrying out the technical tasks in collaboration with 3 partners, CIDETEC, ITRB and PBLH and under the direction of AGUSTA WESTLAND as Topic manager.

This project has been developed in the domain of the CLEAN SKY JTI – Green Rotorcraft which has the aim to improve the environmental impact of the components in aeronautic and air transport sectors. Along the project, the REMART consortium has been involved in the optimization of the use of existing recycling technologies, designing an efficient and environmental recycling protocol for each piece or set of pieces of the HTS (Helicopter Transmission System).

The first step in this work was the development of a comprehensive survey of market surrounding the recycling of HTS. In parallel with the market survey of recycling processes a study and analysis of all materials and coatings used in the manufacturing of HTS was developed.

Once all materials were identified, just like their main coatings and surface treatments, each piece and their most suitable recycling processes were combined.

The next stage of the project was the quantitative evaluation of the recycling processes. With all this information, the development of a tool for designing and developing recycling protocols (as the one of the next figure for chemical stripping) for each component of the HTS was possible.

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Example of Recycling protocol for chemical stripping

Two different demonstrator components (one from AGUSTA and other from AIRBUS Helicopter) were tested during the project (tail gear box and intermediate gear box see below figures) to validate the recycling protocols developed.

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Pictures of the demonstrators of the project

The validation of the recycling protocols was performed using quantitative parameters from the experimental tests, as for instance, time of each process, surface quality after stripping (see next figure) and the risks for the environment.

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Microscope Surface quality after different stripping process

Finally, the last stage of the project consisted on the cost-effectiveness analysis of the recycling cycles for each material and coating (see example for zinc plated component in below figure).

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As one of the conclusions of the project, the stripping stages during the recycling process are a good procedure to get the initial characteristics of metal base. Nevertheless, re-using components will not be a common solution for the aerospace industry due to the high cost of the stripping process. This limitation can always be overcame with stricter environmental policies or by breakthrough from others recycling processes.

Funded by the European Commission: FP7 – JTI – CS – Joint Technology Initiatives – Clean Sky

http://www.remartproject.com/

CIDAUT on the vehicle Automatic pilot track

Progressive autonomous vehicle functions and levels have a great opportunity to create significant benefits to society and economy. Vehicles equipped with this cutting-edge technology will likely reduce crashes, energy consumption and pollution, as well as reduce costs associated with congestion.

Additionally, the integration of intelligent technology in vehicles have a great potential for providing increased mobility for certain population that today have difficulties in getting a flexible and accessible mobility in urban and interurban modalities. Fully autonomous cars could also improve land use, and create new business models based in new car sharing and travel infotainment passenger customized services.

These benefits are a fantastic pillar for Automotive OEMs and Tier1, Technology companies and technological R&D providers, as well as Governments to launch a highly involved and enthusiastic resources investment in developing within a fast rate and high quality level new technology development activities, integration and wide in-depth validation of electronic functions for qualifying cars in the track of a full autonomous vehicle.

Full target achievement will be a question of time taking into account the technology development rate in this field during last decade. Meanwhile, many challenges have still to be solved and managed from different perspectives. This is the reason why CIDAUT has reinforced his compromise with the involvement in technological advance.

CIDAUT’s vision of participation and involvement in progressive automatic pilot electronic functionalities is based in our positive background of knowledge capitalization due to our participation and contribution to international and national R&D activities and internal product, services and knowledge generation.

Main topics within CIDAUT strong background perspective related to automatic electronic functions development and integration are:

  • Design, development, and data processing & analysis of FOT and Naturalistic studies for the requirements in-depth evaluation and user acceptance from a cognitive and physic perspective.
  • Tests and studies in driver simulator lab
  • Architecture definition and instrumentation of HW/SW for experimental vehicles.
  • HMI system development fitted to driver environment and user requirements
  • Mobile Apps Development integrating with high engineering content integrating connectivity and geolocalization features.
  • Computational Vision: Function development of partial automation vision based sensors. RT Online Video processing and feature information extraction. Integration in experimental vehicles.
  • Driver monitoring and attention management system development vision sensor and sensor data fusion based.
  • Virtual predefinition of ADAS – EM actuators and vehicular dynamics integration.
  • Development of ITS technologies in roadway infrastructure for all road users safety enhancement. Support measures for progressive automatic vehicles.

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These practices have been put for the benefit and have been feed backed by a balanced participation in R&D projects contributing to the global state of the art in the field. As an example we have proudly participated in the following initiatives:

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These contributions were consolidated within EU 6th and 7th FP, and those were projects that started the track to progressive automation of vehicles. CIDAUT participation was focused in key aspects such as: human factor and driver cognitive ergonomics, HMI systems, application and functions development and technology evaluation by means of extensive FOTs and testing in driving simulator lab.

Additionally, the participation of CIDAUT within Spanish National R&D projects can be summarized in next figure:

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Thanks to these initiatives where CIDAUT has been working with the greatest involvement and enthusiastic illusion, we are proud to say that we are on the track of the future automatic pilot vehicles.

And from this point forward, we will continue increasing our efforts for moving towards the vehicle fatalities zero vision and mobility efficiency.

LIFE + New Jersey ends, proving that ELTs can improve concrete barrier behaviour

LIFE+ New Jersey Project has entered its final stretch, with the installation in a road of a section of the concrete with end of life tires (ELTs) barrier developed by SIGNUS and tested in Cidaut facilities.

Shortly after the broadcast event held in the Committee of the Regions in Brussels, last March, Project Consortium proceeded to the start of the final milestone of the project, the installation, in the M-511 highway of the Community of Madrid Road Directorate, a stretch of concrete safety barrier with ELTs chips in concrete composition.

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This barrier proves to be safe in the corresponding full scale crash test (according to the EN 1317 standard for road restrain systems), it has a lower density when compared to equivalent barriers made of conventional concrete. Furthermore, its lower density contributes to a lower transport costs and therefore a lower carbon footprint.

The use of ELTs chips in the concrete composition, as well as providing mechanical properties equivalent to those of conventional concrete, also the detached elements are reduced, since the elastic properties of the ELTs chips contribute to better hold of the cracked areas after an impact.

The project partners visited in mid-June the pilot stage to check in detail the good adaptation of the new barrier installation developed highway.

LIFE + New Jersey Project that started in September 2011, ends within June 2015, proving that residues such as those coming from the tire’s end of life can be used to improve the mechanical properties of concrete.

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ALIVE: achieved one of the main milestones

alive_1Since October 2012, CIDAUT has been working in ALIVE project together with other 20 partners including 7 major carmakers, 7 major suppliers, 2 SME’s and 4 academia research centres.

After more than 2 years of work, 21 partners have been developed materials and design concepts to obtain a high potential reduction of the weight of Electric Vehicles, while keeping track of the essential aim of affordable application to high volume productions.

In an extraordinary general meeting that took place on 25th of June at Darmstadt and was hosted by Fraunhofer LBF, the frozen design was presented as one of the big project milestones.

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In ALIVE project, CIDAUT has carried out the necessary tasks to produce a new magnesium technology based on counter-gravity and laminar filling of sand moulds by using an electromagnetic pump that drives melted magnesium into the mould. Thanks to an automatic control of the filling profile, it is possible to obtain high performance components with low cycle times at low costs.

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During the current year, CIDAUT and the other partners will have to manufacture the different components that complete an assembled demonstrator and modules that can be tested along 2016.

If you wish to learn more about ALIVE or the SEAM activities, visit:

www.project-alive.eu and www.seam-cluster.eu

CIDAUT will held a dissemination event on test performed in Spain for VRUITS project

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VRUITS (Improving the Safety and Mobility of Vulnerable Road Users through ITS Applications) is a Research project co-funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Program (Grant Agreement Nº MOVE/FP7321586/VRUITS). It started in April 2013 and its final tasks are scheduled for March 2016. The Project VRUITS investigates how the safety, mobility and comfort of pedestrians, cyclists, Powered-Two-Wheelers and elderly drivers can be improved whit ITS applications. The research includes the improvement of the usability of different applications and the integration of VRUs in cooperative traffic systems.

Objectives of VRUITS project are:

  1. Assess societal impacts of ITS applications and provide recommendations for policies and industry on their usage, in order to improve the safety, mobility and comfort of VRUs;
  2. Recommend practices on how Vulnerable Road Users can be integrated in Intelligent Transport Systems and on how HMI designs can be adapted to meet the needs of VRUs, on the basis of evidences and through field trials.

The project consists of two vertical work packages: WP1 and WP7, and five horizontal work packages (WP 2-6) as shown in the figure.

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First, an overview of existing and upcoming ITS systems for VRUs was provided. A total of 14 systems addressing pedestrians, 34 addressing cyclists, 28 for PTWs, and a number of 10 in-vehicle systems which benefit all kind of VRUs were initially picked. In order to identify the most promising solutions, a workshop was held with 40 relevant stakeholders including representatives of VRU groups, national and European authorities, infrastructure service providers and ITS-related organizations contributed to the prioritization process. Participants selected up to 22 applications having the highest potential for VRUs safety and rated these ITS solutions according to a set of criteria previously decided by VRUITS partners.

Activities in the next step addressed the adaptation of impact assessment methodology, in order to carry out qualitative and quantitative assessment of ITS for sub-groups of VRUs with regards to the aspects of safety, mobility and comfort, and to translate these into socioeconomic indicators. Moreover, user-acceptance and usability of existing ITS services for VRUs have been assessed, focusing on comfort, mobility and effectiveness of related information. A second workshop with stakeholders was held for this topic.

Thanks to the expertise of the participants, from the huge group of ITS initially assessed, 10 applications were withheld. The Consortium selected two of them to be demonstrated in Spain (Valladolid and Alcalá de Henares) and the Netherlands (Helmond): a cooperative Intersection Safety (INS) for cyclists in Helmond (Netherlands), an Intelligent Pedestrian Traffic Signal (IPTS) in Valladolid (Spain) and cooperative IPTS & a cooperative INS for drivers in Alcalá de Henares (Spain).

Equipment and applications at the test sites have been adapted and developed following the prioritization of ITS for VRUS and the recommended practices performed beforehand, in order to be suitable for testing by real users and under real environment.

  • Valladolid site is based on the Intelligent Pedestrian Traffic Signal (IPTS) system: several Intelligent Pedestrian Detectors (IPDs) automatically detect pedestrians on the sidewalk next to the crossing, and based on their trajectories, IPDs decide whether pedestrians are waiting to cross the intersection. The IPDs send this information to an Interface Box, which gathers the data from all the IPDs and requests green light to the Traffic Light Controller (TLC) if there is a certain number of persons waiting. Then the TLC decides whether to give priority to pedestrians over vehicles and extend their green phase, based on the state of the traffic lights. This pilot also includes an Illumination on Demand Module (IDM), which is used to highlight the crossing and its surroundings, informing vehicles about the presence of pedestrians and thus enhancing the safety of the pedestrians. The objective of IPTS is to increase safety and comfort for pedestrians by automatically detecting them, extending their green phase and increasing illumination on the crossing. This application is mainly intended for areas with large amount of pedestrians.vruits_3
  • Alcalá de Henares site implements a smart traffic controller, which is based on the main characteristics of the Intelligent Pedestrian Traffic Signal (IPTS) and the Intersection Safety (INS) systems. The IPTS includes VRU2I (VRU-to-Infrastructure) and I2VRU (Infrastructure-to-VRU) communications where pedestrians can activate green light demand for crossing an intersection via their smart phone and in response to this, the traffic light controller (TLC) provides them the time remaining to activate pedestrian green light. While VRUs are crossing the IPTS detects them to extend the pedestrian green phase, ensuring their safe crossing. The INS includes I2V (Infrastructure-to-Vehicle) communications to inform drivers turning right, with low visibility, about pedestrians’ presence on the road. The detection of pedestrians on the crosswalk, made by the IPTS, is used to give this information to drivers. A drivers’ mobile application connected to a prototype device, able to communicate to the smart traffic controller, is developed for this function. The objectives of IPTS are increasing safety and comfort for pedestrians, (by allowing VRUs to activate a remote demand for green light and extending time on pedestrian green phase for safety crossing) and preventing collisions between right-turning vehicles with low/no visibility and crossing VRUs (by detecting the pedestrian crossing and warning the driver of the existing pedestrian crossing and iIncreasing the illumination at the pedestrian crossing).

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At the end of September (date to be confirmed) a dissemination workshop targeted to local authorities and ITS industry will be held at CIDAUT premises. During this workshop, trial tests performed in both Spanish locations (Valladolid and Alcalá de Henares) will be presented, as well as an assessment on the results obtained.

CIDAUT attended to the Kick off Meeting of the funded by the EC’s Horizon 2020 Programme SafetyCube project held at Loughborough last May the 19th and 20th

SAFETUCUBE_1Funded with €5.8m by the EC’s Horizon 2020 Programme, and leaded by Loughborough University, SafetyCube will develop an evidence-based road safety decision support system (DSS) to enable policy-makers and stakeholders to identify the most cost-effective measures to address the most pressing road safety problems.

The project brings together 18 partners from 15 European countries and spans all elements of road safety from infrastructures and speed limits, to vehicles, road users, and driver behaviour. The team of transdisciplinary experts will bring in-depth road traffic accident data resources together with detailed injury databases, trauma registers, insurance data and information on road user behaviour.

SafetyCube is the first systematic pan-European in-depth study of accident causation. As well as providing data on existing technologies, it will also enable predictive estimates to be made of the effectiveness of new technologies which may only be on the road in small numbers or not yet in use.

The project work plan is based around the core areas relating to the three components of the transportation system, i.e. road user behaviour, infrastructure design and operation, and vehicle safety, to facilitate the application of the results.

Participating organisations:

Loughborough University (UK), CIDAUT (Spain), SAFER Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre (CHALMERS) (Sweden), Laboratory of Accidentology, Biomechanics and Human Behaviour (LAB) (France), Centre Européen d’Etudes de Sécurité et d’Analyse des Risques (CEESAR) (France), National Technical University of Athens (Greece), Belgian Road Safety Institute, SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research (Netherlands), Austrian Road Safety Board, French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks, Institute of Transport Economics (TØI) (Norway), European Road Federation (Belgium), Centre for Transport and Logistics at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” (Italy), Agency for Public Health, Barcelona (ASPB) (Spain), Medical University of Hannover (Germany), Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency (AVP), DEKRA Automobil GmbH (Germany).

Cidaut starts REMAGHIC, a H2020 project on the recycling of Rare Earth Elements applied to produce Magnesium alloys

At the end of April, the EC officially communicated Cidaut the outcome of the evaluation for REMAGHIC proposal. It was favourably evaluated within the H2020 SPIRE-07-2015 call, and the grant preparation process started immediately.

REMAGHIC, New Recovery Processes to produce Rare Earth-Magnesium Alloys of High Performance and Low Cost, aims at contributing to Europe’s rare earth recovery and magnesium recycling technologies, improving the efficiencies of these processes and advancing the technology readiness levels for a new generation of industrial processes that will produce new low cost competitive alloys for a wide variety of sectors across Europe’s manufacturing value chain.

The project motivation lies on the fact that magnesium alloys can offer a significant weight reduction when compared to aluminium alloys. Weight reduction is a cross sectorial key design driver, if a superior energy absorption and vibratory behaviour is added, magnesium is a promising candidate for future application if some of its drawbacks are overcome, such as its cost, manufacturability problems, corrosion and creep behaviour and low allowable service temperature. Addition of rare-earth elements (REE) improves the performance of Mg alloys significantly, though a price increase has to be taken into account. REMAGHIC believes that by investing in recovery and recycling technologies, a new alloying process can be developed to yield low cost Mg+REE alloys.

REMAGHIC will contribute to the penetration of magnesium alloys in important sectors for the European industry (Transport, Energy, Biomedicine); it will foster the work done by Tier1s, and promote the interest of different OEMs on future generations of light structural components of competitive performance (that of primary Mg+REE alloys), low cost (that of primary Mg) and weight reduction (30%).This will encourage further improvements in these technologies thanks to finding new markets and applications that will foster the recovery of different REE.

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remaghic_2 REMAGHIC Work Plan Structure & Raw Materials Industrial Value Chain

Even though there are many Mg+REE alloys in the market, none of these is obtained from fully recovered/recycled raw materials. The development of an alloying processes that takes into account a different variety of recovered REE (which are expected to come in different forms), and includes recycled Mg (assessing its quality meets the same standards as a primary Mg) is totally unprecedented and will have a multifaceted impact, improving efficiency and competitiveness, promoting sustainable manufacturing, contributing to reduce the manufacturing processes environmental impact, strategically sheltering Europe from supply shortages and enabling better societal life quality.

The consortium includes Cidaut as coordinator, Tecnalia, Fraunhofer ICT, and KU Leuven as research partners, and Grupo Antolin, Relight, ITRB, Piaggio Aero, Pininfarina and Meotec as industrial partners. The EC has granted REMAGHIC a 3,253,442 € funding for this H2020 SPIRE project.