Airbus and RWTH cooperate on material research

  Airbus material research © Airbus/RWTH

As part of the "Airbus Advanced Metal Research Program", Airbus and the Chair of Corrosion and Corrosion Protection (KKS) at RWTH Aachen University are collaborating on a multi-year research project. The Chair of the Foundry Institute at RWTH Aachen University is the only national location and one of three locations in Europe to be a cooperation partner of Airbus in the "Airbus Advanced Metal Research Program". The cooperation aims to investigate materials and manufacturing processes for the future use of metallic materials in aircraft construction.

The aim of the ongoing collaboration is to establish RWTH and KKS respectively as a strategic and future-oriented location for Airbus-relevant basic research. This will be achieved by combining the expertise in the field of materials development of corrosion-resistant materials on the part of KKS and the corresponding Airbus research area. This program includes the introduction of the latest materials and manufacturing technologies, as well as the application of state-of-the-art research methods to predict the long-term behavior of the components manufactured from them. The research project has a budget of over one million euros.

Lightweight metals still indispensable materials

"Although the proportion of composite materials in aircraft construction has increased sharply in recent years, light metals remain indispensable materials. Optimized use of metallic alloys is only possible through a fundamental understanding of the materials. We are therefore delighted to be working with a scientific partner like KKS, which brings many years of expertise in this field," said Dr. Claudio Dalle Donne, Head of Materials and Processes and Testing, Airbus Airframe Engineering.

"RWTH Aachen University stands for innovation in materials development. In this respect, the collaboration with Airbus has great potential because two strong partners are joining forces here. We are looking forward to intensive research and that our expertise will once again be in demand internationally," said Professor Ulrich Rüdiger, Rector of RWTH Aachen University.

Innovative research and many years of experience work hand in hand in the program to significantly advance materials development in the aircraft industry with a view to further weight reduction. An initial topic here is the investigation of the long-term behavior of aluminum alloys under environmental influences.


The cooperation partners of Airbus and RWTH Aachen University in a final assembly hall of the A320 family in Hamburg (from left to right): Dr. Matthias Knüwer (Airbus, Team Leader Aluminum Materials), Christoph Altenbach (RWTH Aachen University, Group Leader Lightweight Materials), Christian Engel (Airbus, R&T Integrator Metallic Materials), Professor Daniela Zander (RWTH Aachen University, Chair of Corrosion and Corrosion Protection), Dr. Theodor Hack (Airbus, Senior Expert for Metallic Surfaces) and Oliver Beyß (RWTH Aachen University, Lightweight Materials).