Polymer composites are now routinely used in numerous aircraft components to reduce weight, fuel consumption and emissions while imparting properties such as corrosion and fatigue resistance. They have also made it possible to produce monolithic fuselage barrels that eliminate joints and bolts.
The European aerospace industry is now targeting a smart, multifunctional thermoplastic composite-based fuselage barrel. To get it off the ground, the EU-funded MASCOT project is developing a multilevel cost analysis software platform to be linked to an optimisation tool. It will consider costs of raw materials, individual components, and the fuselage overall. In addition, it will assess total manufacturing hours and man- or machine-hours. Finally, the software will also account for structural health monitoring costs as well as maintenance and repair.