The Aviation Team is mainly composed by materials and mechanical engineers, who share the ambition to build a competence center for the Austrian and European aircraft industry in the area of advanced lightweight materials and manufacturing techniques. The group tackles scientific and technological challenges in order to develop new high performance metallic and composite structures, produced both by additive manufacturing (AM) processes and joining methods. The main goal is to develop advanced lightweight metal-composite hybrid structures which can be used in several engineering applications.
The development of new fabrication and joining techniques for lightweight alloys has become a matter of ensuring success for structural components not only in aircraft but also in automotive and space industries. The development of new, strong, high corrosion resistant and lightweight structures, such as those based on aluminum, magnesium and titanium, as well as of advanced polymer-based composite materials, such as Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics (FRT), has changed the current paradigm in the design of lightweight constructions. As a result, advanced engineered composites are increasingly combined with lightweight metals, performance wise, aiming to increase the weight-to-strength structural performance of components integrating transportation vehicles to reduce fuel consumption and gas emission.
The main scientific drivers are the challenges associated with the mitigation of detrimental effects on material property, which can result from the thermal or thermo-mechanical processing by AM and joining methods. Moreover, other scientific topics involve the understanding of the complexity associated with joining advanced polymers and composites to lightweight alloys (given that both material types present dissimilar mechanical, physical and chemical properties), and the existing intricate relationships between interface bonding mechanisms, microstructure and mechanical performance of metal-polymer hybrid joints.