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Intelligent Lightweight Construction: Use The Latest Technologies To The Market

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Intelligent Lightweight Construction: Use The Latest Technologies To The Market
Intelligent Lightweight Construction: Use The Latest Technologies To The Market

Video: Intelligent Lightweight Construction: Use The Latest Technologies To The Market

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The pursuit of lightweight construction is not new. “Ever since humans started producing technical products, they have been thinking about optimizing them. The question always arises how much effort can and how much he wants to do for it. The ability is defined by the possibilities and tools, which of course are many times larger today than in the past. The willingness to implement, however, is determined by the market, but also by the legislator. In this respect, intelligent lightweight construction is a compromise that tries to exploit weight reduction in combination with higher functionality in a marketable way,”explains Prof. Andreas Büter.

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The spokesman for the Fraunhofer Lightweight Alliance will give a keynote lecture on March 7, 2017 at the opening of the special show and symposium "Intelligent Lightweight Construction", which will take place as part of the Leipzig trade fair double Intec and Z from March 7 to 10, 2017. He presents the topic using the example of the lightweight construction of a wishbone, which is up to 45 percent lighter thanks to the use of fiber composite materials and whose condition is monitored by an integrated structural health monitoring system (SHM). This ensures an operationally safe design of this safety component with a significantly reduced weight. The SHM system based on fiber optic sensors enables load monitoring and indicates wear, fatigue and damage to the structure.A collection of the real load data also makes it possible to design future wishbones according to the load based on adapted methods of durability.

Intelligent structures and materials

One focus of the special show and specialist symposium "Intelligent Lightweight Construction" is how smart textiles support the use of lighter yet very safe materials and elements in mechanical and plant engineering, in vehicle construction and in many other industries. Scientists from the Fraunhofer Research Center "Systems and Technologies for Textile Structures" (STEX) in Chemnitz will present current options for integrating the functions of textile sensors into lightweight structures. “We use established high-volume technologies such as embroidery or weaving to incorporate sensory wires, reinforcing fibers or functional yarns into a textile. This means that the textile surface is already functionalized during its manufacture and is available as a semi-finished product for further processing in plastics technology.without having to carry out additional process steps for attaching external sensors,”describes Michael Heinrich, Group Leader Smart Textiles, and draws attention to another advantage of this procedure:“This allows us to take the sensors directly to the point at which a physical quantity is measured for example, the temperature, the humidity, the level or the expansion of a structure.”Expansion sensors already monitor the condition of rotor blades on wind turbines. They can both predict damage and contribute to the optimized setting of the rotor blade rotation angle for maximum energy output from the wind. The STEX scientists are also working on a fill level sensor system that is integrated directly into a tank wall and displays the fill level, for example in washer fluid tanks,as well as sensor systems that monitor the condition of concrete structures.

Michael Heinrich will address the challenges and perspectives in integrating smart textiles into lightweight structures in his lecture on March 8th. It is part of the Textiles and Smart Structures forum as part of the specialist symposium for the “Intelligent Lightweight Construction” special show at Intec and Z 2017. “The textile technology embedding of the smallest printed circuit boards for the electrical connection of the sensors requires special contacting processes. We have already developed automated technologies for this very far. However, the processes have to become even more robust,”says the expert in lightweight construction. Another relates to lossless sensor signal processing over longer distances, for example a 40 m long rotor blade.

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