Lightweight composites and structures

In this project, Dutch companies and knowledge institutes collaborate on the development of innovative production technologies for complex thermoplastic composite parts and integrated structures. An aircraft becomes heavier due to the necessary applications for hydrogen and the use of (hybrid) electric powertrains. To compensate, lightweight materials, structures, and production technologies are needed to enable sustainable aviation.

Objective of the project

The activities cover the entire spectrum from material development and product design to production, certifiability, repairability, reuse, and sustainability evaluation of thermoplastic composite products. These products are more than 10 to 15% lighter and 20-30% lower in cost than current state-of-the-art products.

The innovations focus on minimizing environmental impact from raw material entry to delivery to aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing, with a target of at least 30% reduction compared to current similar products. To reduce aerodynamic drag, techniques are being developed to apply functional coatings and microstructures, with an estimated fuel saving of 2-5%.

The work packages in the project include:
  • Development of thermoplastic composite technology for components for large aircraft
  • Development of thermoplastic composite technology for large and complex products for large aircraft
  • Development of thermoplastic composite technology for large complex composite products for large aircraft
  • Development of the factory of the future
  • ‘Smart structures’ with integrated systems

Short term results

In 2023, trajectories were initiated for knowledge development, such as in the field of materials, tools and production techniques. The first choices for product concepts and technological demonstration products will be made in 2024.

The goal in 2026 is the demonstration of new materials, production, and product concepts for new aircraft platforms and the selection of promising technologies.

Project contact person

The contact person for this project is Arnt Offringa,

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