Innovate UK has awarded funding to help drive the development of 3D woven textile composites in the UK aerospace industry. The Breakthrough Aerospace Materials (BAM) project looks to advance the manufacturing techniques and simulation of 3D textiles in the UK and to make them commercially available to the aerospace industry. Currently, the use of 3D textile composites is held back by a lack of analysis techniques that are able to accurately predict weave architectures and the resulting processing and structural performance. Led by Sigmatex, BAM joins UK-based aerospace companies BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce along with ESI, MSC Software, Antich & Sons, M. Wright & Sons, Teledyne CML Composites and three UK 3D woven technology leading universities – Nottingham, Manchester and Bristol.
The expected benefits of the project will include structural lightweighting, reduced manufacturing and inherent assembly costs. The project will identify and address the barriers that limit the scope of use and market penetration of 3D textiles. Suitable components and features will be investigated and used to develop and validate predictive software for the simulation of 3D textiles. Manufacturing processes will be assessed and optimized to manufacture various elements of a typical test pyramid to compare simulation predictions with component performance.