Bionic Partition - The Future Technology Of Aircraft Construction

By CIOReview | Monday, December 14, 2015

FREMONT, CA: An aircraft is fundamentally designed based on the structure of a bird. Bird’s bone is both light and strong because its porous interior carries tension only where necessary, leaving space elsewhere. On similar lines, the concept of Bionic partition has taken shape, which is now considered the future of aircrafts. The Bionic structure mimics the bone structure of birds. This not only reduces the aircraft's weight and fuel burn, but also makes it possible to add features like oversized doors for easier boarding and panoramic windows.

Airbus has collaborated with 3D design and engineering company - Autodesk to create printed airplane cabin components. Airbus has almost halved the weight of the partitions it uses to separate sections inside its A320 aircraft, using a combination of “generative” design techniques and 3D printing. The aviation industry is clearly at the forefront of high quality metal 3D printing innovation where large number of small parts, often with complex shapes, are already being 3D printed for use on Airbus aircrafts.

Some of the elements in the cabin are created using additive layer manufacturing. The process repeatedly prints very thin layers of material on top of each other until the layers form a solid object ranging from high-grade titanium alloys to glass and concrete, thus making it simpler to produce very complex shapes. This encourages less wastage of material as opposed to that of cutting shapes out of bigger blocks.

The new Bionic partition uses Scalmalloy, a second-generation aluminium-magnesium-scandium alloy created by APWorks.  APWorks is an Airbus subsidiary focused on additive manufacturing and advanced materials. Scalmalloy is specifically designed for use in 3D printing and offers outstanding mechanical properties, such as ductility.

 “At Airbus, we are always looking to push the boundaries of new technologies and explore how we can best innovate. The collaboration with Autodesk, APWorks and Concept Laser has proved very successful”, commented Peter Sander, VP, Airbus.