Tohoku University and NEC Team up to Accelerate Composite Material Development

Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Engineering, Graduate School of Information Sciences and NEC Corporation are jointly working on a materials integration system that would accelerate the development of carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) for the aerospace sector.

Japan currently produces a wide range of composite materials but require a lot of time and expense to develop. This new R&D, conducted under the Japanese government’s Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP), aims to reduce the cost and time needed to develop composite materials for next-generation aircraft by up to 50 per cent.

To achieve this, the team will create an integrated system capable of digitally developing CFRP for aircraft structures using simulation tools developed by Tohoku University, and NEC’s SX-Aurora TSUBASA vector supercomputer.

Specifically, by implementing simulation codes on a supercomputer that can analyse mechanical responses from a molecular level to the aircraft’s wing and fuselage, the processes of material selection and design can be performed at high speed and at multiple scales.

With this system as a common platform, it is expected that tailor-made material development can more effectively meet the demands of airframe manufacturers.

Using the results from scientific research in composite materials, Tohoku University has already developed a variety of simulation tools for CFRP, together with companies participating in Japan’s Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program. The integrated systems developed in this R&D will be applied to aircraft as well as a wide range of other vehicles in the future.

Simulation programs for materials integration systems will be vectorised and parallelised for the SX-Aurora TSUBASA vector supercomputer in order to significantly reduce the execution times of the simulation programs. This research emphasises cooperation with participating companies in order to accelerate programs.

The SX-Aurora supercomputer consists of vector engines that perform high performance simulation programs and a vector host that performs a wide variety of processes. This R&D utilises NEC’s supercomputer technologies and system construction know-how to systematise simulation programs with the SX-Aurora supercomputer. The materials integration system will combine both data science and optimal material design.

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