Premium AEROTEC, Boeing demonstrate composite wing technology

Premium AEROTEC, working with Boeing, has developed and manufactured a wing spar with a sinewave-shaped web made with carbon fiber composites that offers weight reduction and reduced fastener use.

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Premium AEROTEC (Augsburg, Germany) reported on Sept. 10 that it has developed and manufactured a wing spar with a sinewave-shaped web from carbon fiber composites, thus demonstrating a possible application of carbon fiber composite materials in wing construction. The component was the result of a two-year technology project in collaboration with The Boeing Co. (Chicago, Ill., USA). 

Premium AEROTEC was responsible for analysis, design and manufacture of the entire demonstrator. The demonstrator represents a 2.5m/8.2-ft-long section of a heavily loaded wing spar on a 1:1 scale. The web’s sinewaved-shaped form allows for a significant reduction in the weight of the component compared to standard spars today which have monolithic or discretely reinforced even webs.

Manufacturing the sinewave spar as one monolithic component using the patented Vacuum Assisted Process (VAP) with just one single infusion cycle allows the reinforcement of the junction area between flange and caps with continuous carbon fibers. Since no discrete connecting elements such as bolts, doublers or bonds are used, the construction method suggested by Premium AEROTEC enables additional weight savings (around 10 percent according to Premium AEROTEC’s assessment) compared to other manufacturing concepts for sinewave spars.

In addition to the weight reduction for such a massive structural component, the number of components and the process and assembly steps could also be reduced considerably. This offers advantages in respect to manufacturing and maintenance costs. Premium AEROTEC says the demonstrator shows that the decisive geometric and strength-relevant features for use in commercial aircraft can be fulfilled with the VAP method at high reproducibility.

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