Airbus A380 and the International J-Nose Connection
Airbus A380 and the International J-nose connection sounds like a great title, full of international intrigue - and it is as it sounds. The Airbus A380's wings are products of international collaboration and co-operation. It started with the manufacture of the special aluminium panels - of which there are ten per wing, and the joining together of the panels to the wings skeleton in Wales, UK. Now I have to move over to where other parts of the A380's wings are made, and to see what Airbus Bristol UK and Stork Fokker AESP (Hoogeveen, The Netherlands) have to do with its production. A lot of technologies have been brought into play to make the Airbus A380's wings the most advanced on a modern airliner currently flying today. So far we have discovered that the UK, the Netherlands and France have worked together - and have been doing so for quite a few years now, with one goal in mind; to pull off and bring to market, the most advanced and the biggest modern commercial aircraft currently serving the worlds airliners today.
|A380's J-nose in production|
So what is this 'J-Nose' of the A380? The J-Nose is the leading outer edge of the A380's wing, called the J-Nose because of it's distinctive profile. However, before there was the J-nose there was the D-Nose. The D-Nose was the leading edge of the A340's wings. They were the heavier five part aluminium leading edges that were used until 2002, as they were made first. However, Airbus wanted to make savings in the weight department, so a lighter replacement was needed. Airbus UK in Bristol England, and Stork Fokker AESP (Hoogeveen, The Netherlands) collaborated together and came up with a development that Airbus was pleased with. The design requirements that Airbus had set to make the wings as light as possible were met. The requirements also included protection from bird strikes and debris from runways and other sources. The key development was the collaboration that produced the thermoplastic composites that the J-Nose is made from.
|You can see the 'J' of the nose of the leading edge.|
Thermoplastics make up two thirds of the leading edge of the A380's wings, and there are eight parts per wing. Engineers in collaboration, redesigned the A340's thermoplastic composites to take advantage of the thermoplastic toughness and the relative ease with which it can be processed. Thermoplastics were found to be preferable to thermocites because the fibres do not cross-link, they do not cure, and they don't require a catalyst. It was discovered that by simply heating the thermoplastic to a temperature that exceeded the glass transition temperatures (T.g) they could be moulded, and would hold their shape when they were cooled. It was also discovered that the thermoplastics could be heated and cooled, reshaped and moulded without any loss to the of integrity of the materials or their properties, and that fact represented savings in costs and efficiencies in fabrication.
Stork Fokker had been experimenting with Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites (RTC) since the 1980's. They had been using them in aeronautical applications and learning about their capabilities. They learned what effects welding had on these materials and the efficiencies that welding afforded the fabricating process. Welding could be more targeted, and because of this, it could be automated in production. It was found that the fibres when welded, merged into a whole - or thoroughly intermixed, becoming a single part. It therefore didn't need to be bolted or riveted, and thus proved to be a labour saver, which added to the efficiencies and savings that were being sought. The J-Nose is a product of the experimentation which proved to be just what the A380 needed to give it the revolutionary wings which it flies upon.
|Meet the J-nose production team!|
J-nose connection, international j-nose, airbus a380s, reinforced thermoplastic composites
Research and technologies have definitely played a major part in the production of the A380,with cooperation from three countries in Europe. We get to see just how interesting the technologies can be, and these technologies inspire creations and blaze trails for others to follow.Things that fly need wings! http://rickymaes-things-that-fly.blogspot.co.uk looks into the reasons that the A380 is a flyaway success, and a worthy rival to the iconic 747, but it's mainly due to its wings...