University Working with Sikorsky to Improve Composites Materials

A University of Texas professor has teamed up with Sikorsky Aircraft to design more durable materials and accelerate their implementation in composite aircraft.

Andrew Makeev, professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department and director of the UT Arlington Advanced Materials and Structures Lab, received a $1.35 million grant from the Army National Rotorcraft Technology Centre to build stronger and more durable composite materials for aircraft.

This effort continues a successful Vertical Lift Consortium Program, Advanced Materials Technology, a multi-year joint effort of UT Arlington, Bell Helicopter, Boeing, Sikorsky and Penn State University, also under Makeev’s leadership.

Sikorsky is a leader in the design, manufacture and service of military and commercial helicopters; fixed-wing aircraft; spare parts and maintenance, repair and overhaul services for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft; and civil helicopter operations. Sikorsky helicopters are used by all five branches of the United States armed forces, along with military services and commercial operators in 40 nations.

The professor will build on the success of the Advanced Material Technology Program in developing, testing and characterising polymeric composite aircraft material applications and innovative configurations. Makeev’s lab will continue working with material developers in developing laminate reinforcement methods and bonding solutions reducing weight and improving efficiency of vertical lift aircraft.

Makeev also will use heavy analysis to develop consolidated methods for advanced material qualification that will lower implementation costs for the new and improved material systems. Makeev’s lab has developed the key diagnostic and predictive analysis methods under fundamental research projects sponsored by Office of Naval Research and the Army Vertical Lift Research Centre of Excellence.

[quote_colored name=”” icon_quote=”no”]This effort epitomises our research mission to accelerate the implementation of composites through close collaboration with industry and government labs – a key to achieving cost-effective performance for the next generation of aircraft.[/quote_colored]

Makeev represents UT Arlington in the Vertical Lift Consortium, a national organisation composed of the U.S. rotorcraft industry and academic institutions involved in vertical lift aircraft research with the common goal of providing long-term advancement of rotorcraft.