Materials technologies are and have been key innovation enablers in aerospace. They are defining the baseline for design, concepts, structures, up to systems integration definition and are consequently the starting point for the industrial footprint.
In the past, the possibility to realize new air or space vehicles was very often linked to the availability of new light-weight and high-performance materials enabling the envisaged visions, underlining the relevance of next generation Materials systems inside a fast moving and developing aerospace industry.
Heightened mission profile requirements, e.g. range, thermal management or demanding environmental aspects, are coming up not only for future programs but also for improvement of today’s programs - bringing the currently available Materials choices very often to their limits.
Future products in Aerospace will carry an additional set of requirements coming from the introduction of new propulsion approaches, from the increase in passenger comfort, user friendliness demands, connectivity, etc.
Further requirements derive from environmental or sustainability consideration, being addressed in life-cycle assessments (LCA). Raw material sourcing aspects, environmental aspects during the production phase or end-of life, and (re-)cyclability aspects turn into real measurable requirements.
When being introduced into serial products, cost efficiency or productivity are dominating aspects. These are then key drivers to define the operational and business opportunities – including process and production. With the further implementation of ‘Factory of the Future’ elements and the growing availability of digital tools (“Industrie 4.0”), the need for adapting materials & process elements and solutions to those aspects is growing, including technologies for testing or monitoring.
The paper wraps up future requirements and gives an overview of the next generation Materials research contents. The topics being addressed are: Driving factors in Additive Manufacturing, System and Structure Integration; Advanced Performance Materials; Cyclability (Recycling on different levels); Sustainable Raw Materials; Digitalisation in Materials Technologies; New Materials Classes and Formats.