Composite Materials structures

The Structures section is the technical focal point for aspects related to design, analysis, manufacturing, test and qualification of composite and ceramic structures.
In addition to technical support to ESA spacecraft and launcher development programmes in this domain, the Structures section is responsible for the implementation of composite structure technology developments in the frame of the various ESA technology programs such as TRP, GSTP, ITI, ARTES, FLPP and others. These developments range from feasibility studies for new composite technologies to qualification of new design concepts.

Supporting technologies, such as manufacturing and processing technologies, NDI, etc. are also developed within the range of activities.

Why Composites?

Composite materials structures offer several advantages depending on the application:

  • Mass (spacecraft and launchers);
  • Stiffness (mainly spacecraft);
  • Strength (spacecraft but mainly launchers);
  • thermo-elastic stability (spacecraft structures as well as payloads);
Composite materials structures have become an integral part in the implementation of space vehicle developments

Current Technology Programs focus on:

  • Composites for inflatable structures;
  • Thermo-plastics;
  • Manufacturing process developments;
  • Enhancement of properties by doping with CNT or nano Carbon fibers;
  • Grid/lattice composite structures;
  • Propellant tank applications, incl liners;
  • Interface design technologies;
In the right hand navigation bar are some examples of recent developments.
Last update: 7 January 2013

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