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The aerospace industry is navigating a significant period of change. This change is driven by a number of key factors, including the impact of the Covid pandemic, the urgent need to tackle climate change, and the pressure on budgets for new projects.

There is, of course, ongoing research and development across the global aerospace industry. At Cascade Engineering, we are often involved in projects that integrate this R&D into commercial projects. And we know that the progress made in aerospace often trickles down to other industries, so we have a vested interest in the technologies, innovations and inventions that willpower aerospace into the future.

Investigating friendlier fuels

When we visited the Farnborough Air Show this year, we were excited to see the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft from Vertical Aerospace. There are also many teams working on hydrogen, solar and hybrid-powered concepts across the industry. According to an article by Professor Emeritus of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Kansas, Saeed Farokhi, there will be a completely new aviation sector –Urban Air Mobility – which includes eVTOL transportation. He anticipates that “passengers will be taking eVTOL service between heliports, which creates new business opportunities (and challenges) in autonomous taxi vehicles. The congestion around airport terminals will be reduced due to fewer taxi/bus/train customers.”

Developing innovative materials

There are several other emerging trends in the aerospace industry, some of which have a direct impact on our work. In particular, we are interested in the changing nature of materials used in aerospace projects. The materials used to build aircraft are critical to both safety and performance, and we are often involved on projects where we need to investigate and recommend the use of novel and lightweight materials. Both of these are top of the mind for aerospace engineers, and material choice forms a significant part of initial design and development. In fact, an interesting part of our work is obtaining allowable validated strength data for unusual materials.

There are also new and growing developments in additive manufacture and 3D printing. We have also been involved in some of the early real-life design and development assessments of metal matrix composites, where high strength aluminium fibres can be embedded within less capable aluminium matrix, thereby tailoring strength or stiffness within a single component.

Of course, one of the best things about being involved in the highly innovative aerospace sector is the ability to use our in-depth knowledge and experience to contribute to significant advances in materials selection and use, as well as exploiting new manufacturing technologies to deliver greater project efficiencies.

If you’re interested in talking to us about how we can bring our innovative thinking to your next project, contact us today.

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