Energy Absorbing Materials for Enhanced Crashworthiness in Helicopters

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For helicopters, the development of a floor lining made of a sandwich micro-lattice structure holds the potential to greatly improve the safety of passengers and crew during an unfortunate turn of events like a crash landing. These crashes can be cataclysmic and sometimes fatal. One factor that plays a significant role in the severity of these crashes is the impact forces that permeate through the aircraft during the crash. Hence, an aptly designed floor can reduce the severity by absorbing and distributing these impact forces more effectively.

Sandwich microlattice structures are lightweight, strong, and have a high strength-to-weight ratio. They are made up of a lattice framework with interconnected struts that create a series of voids. The voids are then filled with a lightweight core material. Sandwich microlattice structures are thus ideal for aircraft components where weight is a critical factor. For our purposes, the microlattice structure for the helicopter flooring would be designed to absorb and distribute the forces. To accomplish that, the lining needs to be installed on the underside of the aircraft’s floor, which will provide a layer of protection. In order to achieve the desired results in force distribution, we would need to use computer simulations and empirical testing to refine the design with a specific pattern of struts and voids that would maximise the goal and be able to withstand the instantaneous loads in a real-world scenario.

A significant and useful advantage of this approach is that we can test and design different microlattice structures fit to work for different helicopters based on their size, weight, etc., based on the intended use of the craft. Another big advantage of this approach is that the manufacture and production of the microlattice structure are relatively easy and can be achieved using automated machines. These panels can be integrated and fitted to all types of helicopters without a considerable increase in the weight of the structure. This greatly reduces the cost of production and installation, making it more accessible.

In conclusion, it can be said that the development and utilisation of floor lining made of sandwich microlattices hold potential to improve the survivability factor of passengers during a helicopter crash. Given enough time and resources, this technology can be disruptive and commonplace in the development of new helicopter designs, reducing the risk of fatal events.

 

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  • ABOUT THE ENTRANT

  • Name:
    Mansha Arora
  • Type of entry:
    team
    Team members:
    • Stanley Samlal
    • Mansha Arora
  • Software used for this entry:
    LS DYNA, ANSYS
  • Patent status:
    none