Lightening the Load with Composites and Digital Prototyping

Airlines and aircraft manufacturers are doing everything they can to lower their costs, including lightweighting every component possible, which can improve fuel efficiency. The industry spends more than a hundred billion dollars on fuel every year. While the price of oil is relatively low today, manufacturers and airlines must look ahead to the more than 25-year life span of the average airplane, assuming someday prices will rise again. Cost is a major driver, but the industry is also committed to reducing emissions during flight, and reducing fuel burn from the engine helps achieve this goal. Lightweighting, then, is one of the most important trends in the aerospace industry, and using composites, that can offer the required strength but at lower weight than metals, in manufacturing is a key strategy.

aircraft cargo area

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ANSYS Advantage Magazine: Breakthrough Energy Innovation and Sustainable Design

ANSYS Advantage - Breakthrough Energy Innovation Sustainable Design

Energy systems innovation and sustainable design are key business initiatives in almost every industry sector. And, these initiatives are not only required to meet customer demand for “green products” or to satisfy environmental regulations. Many businesses have realized there is an opportunity to drive new growth with energy innovations. The new issue of ANSYS Advantage highlights the many ways our customers are delivering these energy innovations by leveraging the power of engineering simulation.

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Take a Load Off! Lightweighting for Engineers

I was fortunate enough to own a Lotus Elise for a number of years. I loved that car but had to give it up when I moved to the U.S. One of the reasons I liked it so much was the design philosophy it followed: “performance through lightweight.” The reduced mass of the car meant the relatively small engine could shove it along at a fair old rate, which is pretty obvious. But it also meant that the suspension didn’t have to be as beefy, and the amount of work the brakes had to do was also significantly reduced. Lightweighting has big benefits.

It’s a very virtuous cycle. Removing weight has a compound impact on pretty much all aspects of the car. Probably one of the least mentioned benefits (considering that this was a sports car) was the fuel economy. When I was driving at a steady speed on the motorway I could easily get better economy than a family sized diesel car. Continue reading