D-STANDART project makes lightweight composites more durable

News - 20 February 2023

Advanced composites are gaining ground in many areas, also in aerospace and in the wind energy sector, as they are lightweight and help to save energy. What is still missing are accurate and fast pre-production methods to optimise the durability of such large-scale composite structures. TU Delft researchers contribute to the recently launched EU-funded project D-STANDART led by the Netherlands Aerospace Centre Royal NLR. The aim of the project: develop efficient methods to model the durability of large-scale composite structures of any design under realistic conditions. The researchers from Delft focus on new testing techniques and AI-powered models to characterise fatigue.

(Image: D-STANDARD project)

Advanced composites play an important role in efforts to achieve a carbon-neutral future, enabling structures that are simultaneously resistant and lightweight, and therefore energy-efficient, for example, in the aerospace and wind turbine sectors. The increased use of large composite structures raises concerns regarding their damage tolerance and durability, which is currently generally assessed using imprecise and time-consuming techniques. Structures at these scales experience extreme loads and stresses, especially when optimised to use as little material as possible. Accurate and reliable fatigue assessment is therefore necessary to ensure the long-term integrity of the light-weight structures we need for a climate-neutral and sustainable future. Hence the objective of D-STANDART is to develop fast and efficient methods to model the durability of large-scale composite structures with arbitrary lay-ups under realistic conditions (loads, environment).

The researchers from the faculties of Aerospace Engineering and Civil Engineering and Geosciences at TU Delft focus on reducing the amount of time and effort needed to characterise the fatigue behaviour of composite structures by means of new testing techniques and linking these to AI-powered models. They will for example come up with new testing methodologies that will provide insight into how changing fibre orientations in a composite laminate affects fatigue life, investigate the influence of temperature and humidity on fatigue behaviour, and develop an AI model that can predict the fatigue behaviour of a composite laminate based on the structure of the laminate.

The D-STANDART consortium

D-STANDART involves nine partners from four countries (France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). NLR will coordinate the project, and the other partners of the project are: University of Twente, University of Bristol, NCC Operations Ltd, iCOMAT Ltd, Delft University of Technology, MSC Software (a Hexagon Company), L-up, and SE Blades Technology. The Advisory Board consists of six end-users (Rolls Royce, Fokker Aerostructures, Leonardo, Siemens Gamesa, Embraer, Coexpair) and will support the consortium by validating requirements, guiding the project’s approach to certification, and finally supporting results’ uptake in tight alignment with the European Materials Modelling Council (EMMC) and European Materials Characterisation Council (EMCC).

More information

  • Based on a news item by Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre NLR. Read the entire news item on their website.
  • More information on de D-STANDART website, LinkedIn page and on Research Gate.   
  • Involved from TU Delft: John-Alan Pascoe, Boyang Chen, Vahid Yaghoubi Nasrabadi (all Faculty of Aerospace Engineering) and Yasmine Mosleh (from the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences).


D-STANDART is a three-year research project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon Europe Programme (grant agreement number 101091409). Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.