Aircraft development: exploiting synergies and flying more efficiently DFG funds new Collaborative Research Centre at TU Braunschweig
- “SynTrac” project investigates physical processes at the interfaces between aircraft and propulsion systems
- Collaborative Research Centres make it possible to work on demanding, long-term research projects in a network
In order to set the course for climate-neutral air transport, not only the engines but also the aircraft themselves and their components must be optimised. A high degree of integrated functions and components can reduce weight, size and energy consumption while increasing performance and efficiency. But how big are these effects really, what potential and what synergy effects result from highly integrated transport aircrafts? Researchers are investigating these questions in the Collaborative Research Centre/Transregional Project “Synergies of Highly Integrated Transport Aircraft” (SynTrac). Under the leadership of Technische Universität Braunschweig together with the University of Stuttgart, the Leibniz University Hannover and the German Aerospace Center DLR, this project will be funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) from 1 October 2023 for an initial period of three years and nine months.
Against the background of the Paris Climate Agreement and the European Green Deal, which call for a 50 percent reduction in aircraft energy consumption by 2035, the researchers are looking for ways to increase the overall efficiency of aircraft. In numerous sub-projects, they are sounding out the synergies and potentials of highly integrated aircraft development. In a multidisciplinary, cross-system view of the aircraft development process, they use the interactions of aerodynamics, acoustics, flight physics, structural mechanics and thermodynamics to develop future highly efficient aircrafts through innovative approaches.
One focus of SynTrac is the integration of the drive into the airframe, which offers new possibilities for cross-system optimisation and function integration. This high degree of integration results in a high level of complexity, for example in the design of components and in construction. In cross-disciplinary teams, the researchers will first examine the most important interdependent physical processes in the aircraft, what influence they have on the environment and how well they can be integrated. In a next step, they will investigate how new synergies can result from this merging or combining of functions and how great the synergy effect ultimately is. The synergies are expected, for example, in aircraft design, acoustics, aero- and thermodynamics.
“With the new Collaborative Research Centre on aerospace, we are building on years of cooperation with the University of Stuttgart. Two locations of aerospace research are now joining forces to create the basis for exploiting significant potentials required for sustainability in aerospace,” says Prof. Sabine C.Langer, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Centre.
“In SynTrac, we research at the interfaces of the disciplines and components. In this way, we not only gain new insights. In this way, we are training a new generation of engineers who will be able to implement the associated potentials in future products,” says Prof. Stephan Staudacher, co-spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Centre.
With this integrative approach, many things change, above all new analysis and design methods and tools are needed, but also new forms of cooperation between disciplines. Before components, functions and processes are optimised at great expense, it must be clear how strong the synergy effects are and how much the efficiency and thus also the environmental compatibility of the aircraft can be increased. At the same time, the effects of the synergies on important processes and functions such as aerodynamic couplings, flight dynamics, handling and control allocation as well as the acoustic signatures are evaluated.