Research Programmes

The department is home to three strong research groups leading in their field of expertise. Each group collaborates with research partners all over the world, including Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer:

Novel Aerospace Materials

NovAM is dedicated to the development of novel aerospace and space materials. The Group, consisting of international staff and students, is one of the world’s leading  centres of expertise on thermodynamic design of novel alloys, development of novel high performance polymers for structural applications, self-healing materials, functional coatings and smart materials. In their research the group explores unconventional approaches, focus on fundamental concepts but also develops successful concepts to a level suitable for adoption by industry.

Example MSc Thesis projects:

  • Towards Skin Friction Reduction by Materials Design: Embedded Compliant Linear Structures
  • First Steps towards Plasma-Sprayed Liquid Crystal Thermoset: Coatings for Aerospace Applications
  • Plasticity Induced Transformation in a New Generation of Titanium Aerospace Alloys

 Academic Staff

  • Professor S. van der Zwaag
    Expertise: Materials by design,
    Self-Healing Materials, Metals,
    Polymers, Sensorial composites
  • Professor T.J. Dingemans
    Expertise: Polymer Design for
    Aerospace Applications
Aerospace Structures and Computational Mechanics

The ASCM group focuses on research in analysis, design, and optimisation of advanced structural systems, and the development of necessary computational methods and tools for such activities. Multi-disciplinary projects incorporating aerodynamics, active control, hot structures and actual production tooling are done in cooperation with other sections, aerospace companies and research institutes. The research group enjoys a world-class reputation in these areas.

Examples of MSc:

  • Analysis, Optimum Design, Costeffective Manufacturing and Testing of Advanced Composite Grid-Stiffened Structures for Aircraft Fuselage Applications
  • Analytical Stress Field and Failure Prediction of Mechanically Fastened Composites
  • An Advanced Aeroelastic Tailoring Tool for Wing Design

Academic staff

  • Professor C. Bisagni
    Expertise: Aerospace Structures,
    Computational Mechanics, Composites,
    Buckling & Collapse, Multi-scale &
    Multiphysics, Isogeometric Modeling,
    Aeroelastic Tailoring, Damage Tolerance & Certification, Virtual Engineering,
    Verification & Validation
  • Dr G.N. Saunders-Smits,
    Master track coordinator
Structural Integrity and Composites

The SI&C group closes the loop from design to realisation by focusing on research related to the manufacturing, maintaining, and repairing aerospace structures. Aerospace structures will degrade over time and eventually fail as a result of regular use (fatigue), corrosion, wear, ageing, and accidental damage over their lifetimes: Furthermore, these processes are intimately linked to the starting conditions of the structure such as: manufacturing and variations in individual aircraft usage. This defines the three research pillars of the group:

  • Fatigue, Damage Tolerance, and Durability
  • Manufacturing; and Nondestructive Testing
  • Structural and Health Monitoring

The aim of the research is to increase our knowledge within and bridging between these three pillars for metal, composite, and hybrid aerospace structures. This will equip the next generation of structural designers with the knowledge and knowhow to optimise aerospace structures safely to their limit.

Examples of MSc Thesis projects:

  • Development of a Damage Tolerance Evaluation procedure for bonded composite repairs
  • Selective Reinforcements for improving Damage Tolerance of Stringerless Fuselages
  • Aircraft Fuselage Design Study
  • Applicability of Magnesium in FML for Aerospace Applications
  • Explosive Forming of Sheet Metal

Academic staff

  • Professor R. Benedictus
    Expertise: Structural Integrity, Metals,
    Composites, Structural Health
    Monitoring, NDT, Manufacturing,
    Smart Materials, Fatigue, Damage
    Tolerance & Durability

Aerospace Structures and Materials Laboratory

The department has its own laboratory: the Delft Aerospace Structures and Materials Laboratory, where we offer our MSc students working on their thesis projects access to the most advanced facilities. The laboratory contains a wide range of specialist equipment with uses including:

  • material characterisation using visual methods like microscopes, physical methods, chemical analysis, nondestructive testing methods, etc.
  • synthesis of materials, both on microlevel in our chemical laboratory and on macro-level in the composite laboratory
  • manufacturing processes for the fabrication of parts and products. Examples include hot presses, resin injection  echniques, filament winding, forming processes, processes for joining of structural elements, etc.
  • testing of materials and structures for which a wide range of testing equipment is available to test materials and structures specimens
  • in the workshop, a number of numerically-controlled milling machines are used for the manufacture of any specimens, tools, dies or other test equipment that may be required.