"Completely new approaches are required in aerospace".
What is the aim of the study "Materials in lightweight constuction for space industry"?
Claus Bayreuther: With this study, we are analytically and objectively comparing prevailing materials technologies in the space industry and reflecting the current market situation as well as the needs of space travel. From our study, companies can consistently derive the necessary sales directions, market potentials, strengths and weaknesses of the current technical trends, which is why our study makes an objective, realistic, clear and very valuable contribution to the current view and expectations of the entire space market, from the entire supplier pyramid to the end customer. We are currently questioning almost 30 companies - from suppliers to end customers. Space travel is an attractive market for lightweight construction.
What makes it so attractive?
The automotive market is extremely saturated and price-driven. However, lightweight construction and, in particular, innovations in lightweight construction come at a price. In the space industry, which is characterized by small unit numbers, investments are worthwhile because savings through lightweight construction are greater here and quickly amount to between 7,000 and 15,000 dollars per kilo.
Is space travel a suitable model for other sectors, e.g. automotive engineering?
Space travel is quality-driven - in contrast to vehicle construction. The motives for the weight savings and also the price structures of the two industries are not comparable. Due to the high quality standards, completely different, new approaches and ideas are possible and required in space travel.
Can you give an example?
New approaches are in demand throughout the entire product development process. Especially in the aerospace industry, a profound understanding of the simulation-driven value chain in ultra-lightweight construction from the initial idea to the virtual design to the finished product is essential - and that in a holistic, systemic way. In addition to good project management, an efficient process chain requires above all social skills. And this is often where the biggest problems lie. I know from many conversations with managers that not only a lack of resources and standardization can cause lightweight construction projects to fail, but also a lack of communication, competence and agility. However, they are the basis for efficient processes in the design of ultra-lightweight structures in all branches of industry.
In your own developments, you follow the principle of "form follows force". What exactly does that mean?
We reduce a three-dimensional component to the bare essentials: to topologically simple structures. To do this, we follow the so-called load paths and lay the fibres there exactly in the direction of the force. In this way, we reduce the complexity of a component and reinterpret it. AMC, for which I am head of the Lightweight Construction department, consistently and clearly pursues this guiding principle in its xFK 3D process technology. "Form follows force" is also the guiding principle that shapes design in space travel.
What is behind this technology?
With the xFK process technology in 3D, we reduce the structures of a component to fiber strands for one-dimensional load paths. These fiber strands are force- and tension-optimized and enable a high and specifically adjustable structural stiffness. Without fiber trimming, the xFK technology in 3D is also very resource- and environment-friendly. It introduces a so-called "step change" in the lightweight construction industry because it simulates new, bionically inspired and thus highly intelligent structures according to the principle "form follows force".
Dr. Claus Georg Bayreuther has been working for AMC since 2015 and has been head of the Lightweight Construction department there since 2018. In his professional career, he has held various management positions, primarily in the field of calculations and simulations for well-known EDL companies in the automotive, aviation and mechanical engineering industries. He has many years of profound and interdisciplinary expertise in lightweight construction, which he passes on in seminars and as a university lecturer for several years.
The study "Materials in lightweight constuction for space industry", which is being developed in cooperation between Automotive Management Consulting (AMC) and the Luxembourg space supplier GRADEL, will be presented on September 10 at the Lightweight Technologies Forum in Stuttgart.
Picture: Dr. - Ing. Claus Georg Bayreuther