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Ageformable panels for commercial aircraft

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Vehicle design and manufacturing (VDM)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The challenge of future materials for airframe applications is to further improve the cost–weight balance when compared with current flying solutions. The ageform process allows cost effective and efficient forming of fuselage and wing products. The use of creep forming during aging avoids a lot of manual or, step-by-step, mechanical forming. Ageforming is also an alternative for shot peen forming, which is labour intensive and has quite a strong impact on the environment due to the generation of dust and noise.

Thanks to the Ageform project, the age- or creepform process could be enlarged to damage tolerant dimensioned airframe parts as bottom wing skin or fuselage skin applications. New aluminum alloys had to be developed in order to be adaptable to the ageform process.


This project aimed at

  1. reduction of aircraft procurement costs, with the target of contributing to the reduction of production costs by 35% and development time by 15 to 30%;
  2. improvement of the efficiency and performance of aircraft, by reducing fuel consumption of 20%.

This project intended to develop and validate intelligent, cost-effective and flexible manufacturing methodologies in support of advanced airframe assembly concepts by introducing age forming for manufacturing of structural components. These components included lower wing skin, fuselage panels, complex-shaped parts (in particular integrally stiffened panels), larger complex integral subassemblies joined by friction stir welding prior to forming . The project also exploited the properties of advanced materials through the development of age formable alloys and tempers.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission, Directorate-General for Research (DG Research)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


Within the Ageform project, the creep-form process was adapted for damage tolerant applications as the bottom wing skin or fuselage panels. New damage tolerant alloys were developed and entirely characterized during each step of the process. Higher strength-toughness balances could be reached when compared with the current flying baseline as 2024 T3.

The increased properties, in particular, the R-curve behaviour were verified after ageforming. No difference in properties could be detected compared to standard aged samples, so that in future standard testing procedures can be applied for new ageformable alloys.

An entire testing scenario has been set up within the project, so that for future developments the scenario only has to be adapted, so that the time to market for future developments can be extremely shortened. By looking on the current evolution of the product metallurgy, third generation AlCuLi alloys progress quickly.

Thanks to the new developments, these alloys seem to be perfectly adapted for the application of the Ageform process.Within the permanent challenge to reduce the weight–cost balance, the Ageform process allows to progress in the most favourable direction. New design concepts, in particular monolithic structures, can be realized using the advantages of creep forming in a cost-effective way.

Ageformprocess for aerospace applications:

  • Ageformed bottom wing skin for commercial aircraft
  • Ageforming of an integral fuselage panel containing FSW joints and LBW stringers
  • Ageformed integral bottom wing skin for business aircraft


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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