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The EDA Materials & Structures Week - Workshop on High Performance Light Weight Structures

During the second week of March, the EDA Workshop on High Performance Light Weight Structures and the 36th meeting of the CapTech Materials & Structures took place at Airbus facilities in Manching (Germany). During the week, more than thirty experts, representing the Materials network from various European Ministries of Defence, industry, SMEs and academia related to this technology domain, gathered to share interests and plan future R&T activities.

Today, aerostructures know-how is mainly based on monolithic metallic and composite material structures. This also holds true for military applications. The potential offered by combining different materials in a hybrid design solution, by developing novel design concepts or by integrating several functionalities within one design solution etc. is not fully utilized today. Therefore, on 7 March 2017, high-level experts on materials and structures for defence platforms gathered to define a potential European level cooperative R&T project that will represent an important step toward further developing this concept. This form of international collaboration facilitates the sharing of background information on European interests and of current or foreseen issues specific to this domain. Having and applying the resulting insights could lead to forging common targets and to helping further EU collective capability in high performance low weight structures. The main outcome of the workshop was the identification of the most promising avenues for cooperation in this area, namely preparing the knowledge base required for future platforms, starting with design elements derived from existing ones  and identifying capability requirements and maintenance needs which exceed the current state of the art. 

This interesting and constructive workshop was followed by the 36th meeting of the CapTech Materials & Structures. The meeting focused on the review of the CapTech’s current activities and on the discussion about future actions and upcoming opportunities for advancing the scope and coverage of its work. Special attention was given to the impact of the ongoing developments in European defence research on the future SRA. These circumstances have been acknowledged as game changers also for the Materials & Structures community. In this regard, the planning of the new Materials Strategic Research Agenda, (SRA) following the EDA Overarching Research Agenda (OSRA) methodology, was discussed in depth. In order to prepare this update, the OSRA methodology was also applied to the development of Technology Building Blocks (TBBs) by analysing the technology gaps identified in the current SRA. 

Another evolving dimension of particular relevance is the incorporation of new Materials CapTech members, resulting from the continuous efforts of EDA and the Materials CapTech National Coordinators to welcome key stakeholders, growing the CapTech network from one meeting to the next one. On EDA’s side, the joint efforts with the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) to support dual-use small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is continuously leading to concrete opportunities by identifying SMEs potentially interested in the work of the CapTech. At this moment, the network is composed of more than 200 experts from various types of entities (Ministries of Defence, industry, SMEs, research centres and universities). 

The workshop and Materials CapTech meeting was co-organized by the EDA’s CapTech on Materials & Structures, the German Ministry of Defence-WIWeB, and Airbus DS-Manching.

Image Source: Airbus DS – Flughmuseum Messerschmitt, Manching (Germany)

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