In the framework of the "Fiber Force" research project, started in 2010, working together with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Technical University of Darmstadt, Lufthansa Technik has developed methods for load transmission into carbon fiber composites (CFC) aircraft fuselage structures for VIP customer aircraft.
New generations of aircraft, such as the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787, are manufactured predominantly out of CFC. As these aircraft will also play an increasingly important role for VIP customers in the future, appropriate changes to the original aircraft structure are essential for manufacturer-independent modifications and individual cabin solutions. It must be made possible to install specific cabin components at the desired location in an aircraft, and the primary structure must be reinforced in such a way that the additional load can be introduced and distributed safely.
Within the project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWI), it has now been possible to define the maximal load on the floor panels for the first time, and to develop highly efficient connectors, known as "floorpanel hardpoints". These components, comparable to inserts, are small enough to fit into the palm of the hand and can be individually fitted to the cabin floor by gluing them to the floorpanels. They facilitate the flexible fixing of special cabin fittings such as cupboards, tables and partition walls in the aircraft cabin with a maximal load of up to 3,000 newtons.
"The results of the "Fiber Force" research project and the resultant force transmission concepts help us decisively in the VIP Completion business to continue successfully meeting the challenges of installing cabin interiors in the new composite fiber aircraft designs," said Dr. Hans Schmitz, Senior Vice President VIP & Executive Jet Solutions.
The results of the research project and the know-how acquired are already being used in current Lufthansa Technik completion projects.
A total of 40 of the newly developed "floorpanel hardpoints" are currently being installed in a Boeing 747-8.
The complete study and especially the execution of test series were significantly assisted by a virtual R&D simulation.
In further subprojects, amongst other things, Lufthansa Technik has been investigating ways to compensate for a sudden drop of pressure in a VIP cabin, which often consists of many smaller rooms. Beyond this, possibilities for load introduction in the side and upper fuselage structure are being developed. The overall "Fiber Force" project is due for completion by the end of November 2013.
The Lufthansa Technik Group, with 30 subsidiaries and more than 26,000 employees worldwide, is one of the leading technical providers of services for the aviation industry. The Lufthansa Technik portfolio encompasses the entire spectrum of services in the areas of maintenance, repair, overhaul, modification and conversion, engines and components.