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Generic linking of finite element based models

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Total project cost
€3 815 545
EU Contribution
€2 839 910
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS
Background & Policy context

The project was about ensuring cost efficiency in air transport. The focus was on reduction of aircraft acquisition costs. Innovative solutions and technologies combined with a competitive supply chain, were to result in: (i) lower lead time and (ii) reduced costs of the aircraft from design to production.


The objectives of the GLFEM project were the development of:

  • Advanced methods and computational tools in the fields of structural analysis;
  • Concepts and methodologies for efficient multi-site product development in support of the extended enterprise.

The project contributed to the mentioned costs/lead times reduction and a more competitive supply chain, by enabling companies to seamlessly couple their analysis capabilities.


This coupling was done by analysis model interfacing and by providing a definable combination of accuracy, ease of use and intellectual property protection.

The project delivered advanced methods and computational tools for structural analysis. More specifically, the deliverables enabled the coupling of finite element based structural analysis models of different origin and modelling fidelity, with no interaction during initial model creation. The coupling was generic (linear, non-linear, static, dynamic, shell-to-shell, solid-to-shell) and automatic. It was applied to 4 different industrial use cases.

Several approaches were pursued in competition, making use of a common finite element research package. The best of the class for a given application type was implemented in a commercial grade finite element code. Models could then be created independently by different partners at different locations, concurrently, with a minimum of communication needed. This resulted in an efficient multi site product development methodology in support of the extended enterprise.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
The European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)
Specific funding programme


Being an upstream research project, the GLFEM project has delivered a number of (structural finite element based) model coupling capabilities to the European Industry and European scientific community. Three project milestones were identified at month 28, 30 and 40.

  • At M28 a State-of-the-Art theoretical overview and evaluation of coupling methods was delivered. This resulted in the technical part of a complementary industrial proposal in 2011.

  • At M30 a Report on practical implementation of coupling methods was delivered.

  • At M40 the Final overview of the GLFEM project theory, implementation and application was delivered in the form of a manuscript for a public book.

Furthermore, the following sections are a selection of results of the used cases achieved within the GLFEM project:

  • Non linear delamination in composite panels;
  • Buckling of composite panels with local degradation;
  • Panel design in fuselage design.

Innovation aspects

A number of different innovative coupling approaches have been developed, demonstrated and, subsequently, validated on a number of relevant industrial Use Cases (UC). These coupling approaches extended the State-of-the-Art Finite Element (FE) methods that are commonly used in industry today. These methods had the following features in common:

  • They were based on the Finite Element method;
  • They were applied to deformation, stress and stability analysis of slender structures;
  • They are able to model specific regions in detail, but without performing re-meshing or mesh refinement. In other words, the FE model was comprised of several meshes that are not compatible with one another.

Technical Implications

Seamless and automatic model interfacing will enable companies to collaborate productively for better aircraft designs in less time and at lower costs. GLFEM results are expected to have a major impact on the competitiveness of the EU aerospace industry. Additionally, this will pave the way for incorporating other automatic coupling procedures-of-benefit to numerous manufacturing sectors.

Strategy targets

2. Innovative for the future: technology and behaviour.

2.1. A European Transport Research and Innovation Policy. 


The GLFEM results have reached a maturity level that does not permit a direct, immediate or short-term commercial exploitation. For further development, demonstration and industrialisation, a complementary and more industry focused project is needed in the different areas covered by the project, in order to operationally deploy and commercially exploit the capabilities and solutions validated in GLFEM.


Lead Organisation
Stichting Centrum Voor De Ontwikkeling Van Transport En Logistiek In Europa
Van Nelleweg 1, 3044 BC Rotterdam, Netherlands
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€658 761
Partner Organisations
Universiteit Twente
Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB Enschede, Netherlands
EU Contribution
€292 500
Smr Engineering & Development Sa
Dufourstrasse 109B, 2502 Bienne, Switzerland
EU Contribution
€324 800
Airbus Defence And Space Gmbh
Ludwig-Boelkow-Allee 1, 85521 Ottobrunn, Germany
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€131 935
Deutsches Zentrum Fr Luft Und Raumfahrt E.v
Linder Hoehe, 51147 KOELN, Germany
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€476 075
Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali Scpa
Via Maiorise s/n, 81043 CAPUA (CE), Italy
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€397 979
Universita Degli Studi Della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
Via Po 18/a, 10222 Busca, Italy
EU Contribution
€277 500
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universitaet Hannover
Welfengarten 1, 30167 Hannover, Germany
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€280 360


Technology Theme
Condition monitoring
Structural health monitoring based on modelling
Development phase

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