Embedded Life-Cycle Management for Smart Multimaterials Structures: Application to Engine Components
In the framework of the transition to an industry 4.0, connected objects deployment is reinventing manufacturing and maintenance processes enabling tighter integration of the value chain. Adding native connectivity to aircraft parts is the key technology to unlock this transformation. This goes through embedding sensor technology into engine components and providing them with cognitive capabilities to improve manufacturing processes and operational availability without compromising safety.
MORPHO is the joint effort of European experts in smart manufacturing, sensor integration, structural health monitoring, recycling of aerospace structural parts, and SAFRAN (a major OEM) to face this tremendous challenge. Modern and future fan blades are designed and manufactured using a hybrid metal and advanced composite configuration. In the case of the LEAP engine, the core body of the fan blades is built up with 3D-woven composite, while the leading edge is made of titanium. These hybrid blades allow for mass gain and exhibit high strength and fracture toughness. Yet they remain vulnerable to an unexpected foreign object impact and to the initiation of damage mechanisms. Moreover, their environmentally friendly recycling is still a challenge.
MORPHO proposes to embed printed and fiber-optical sensors in aircraft engine fan blades, thus providing them with cognitive capabilities already while they are manufactured. The parallel development of a digital/hybrid twin models will drastically improve the blades' Life Cycle Management (LCM). Particular focus lies on the efficient, profitable and environmental-friendly manufacturing, maintenance, and recycling of these next-generation smart engine fan blades.
MORPHO’s ambition is also to set the cornerstones of future standards for a reliable, sustainable, agile and cost-effective industrialization of these new intelligent and multifunctional parts as well as of their associated manufacturing, maintenance, and recycling processes.