From quiet and comfortable cabins, better communication systems, more comfortable seats and optimal air conditioning to more environment-compatible and energy-efficient aircraft systems, the Aeronautics research center investigates nearly all aspects of modern aviation, and Hamburg is a location that offers ideal opportunities to collaborate directly with leading system providers, suppliers and operators.

Since the beginning of 2000 the volume of international aviation has risen by an annual average of 5 percent, with no end to this constant increase in sight. To make the aviation industry more economic and more environment-friendly (and thereby more competitive and sustainable), strategic targets were set at the European level a few years ago that have exerted a major influence on the research landscape. They include reducing production costs by 35 percent, maintenance costs by 25 percent and fuel costs by 20 percent. Furthermore, development times are to be cut by 20 percent, external and internal noise levels by 10 percent and, last but not least, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions by 80 and 50 percent respectively.

Achieving these targets will require systematic further developments and new technologies ranging from lighter yet reliable structures such as CFC fuselages and wing sections to entirely new aircraft concepts such as the blended wing body, which is still at the research stage. The TUHH’s Aviation research center aims to play a leading role in shaping these technologies and taking them forward, with activities that focus mainly on aircraft systems and equipment, cabins and comfort, materials and production, aircraft design and air transportation systems.

With local industry giants such as Airbus and Lufthansa Technik along with many smaller aeronautics specialists, Hamburg is an internationally outstanding civil aviation industry location and is therefore predestined to have an Aviation research center. Active collaboration between industry and the participating TUHH institutes ensures both corporate innovation and training of qualified employees, and does so sustainably and on a long-term basis. The research center’s projects are geared to international research strategies aimed primarily at developing new foundations and technologies for designing, manufacturing, operating and utilizing aviation systems.

The intensive interdisciplinary collaboration of TUHH institutes in aviation, mechanical and electrical engineering is especially beneficial for this research work. In fact, the expertise of specialists in different disciplines, such as acoustics, thermodynamics, systems technology, design, and composites, can flow together effectively. In the process, synergy effects can be put to good use, leading to a strengthening of the research center’s competences both internally as well as externally, which improves the university’s prospects of third party funding.

Systems and Cabins research, for example, is focused on developing new acoustics concepts for aviation. To do so, TUHH scientists are conducting research into acoustically optimized materials, new kinds of cabin walls that reduce noise, or a virtual cabin with the aid of which the acoustics within the aircraft can be improved on the computer. The Systems and Cabins specialists are also investigating interaction between man and machine in the cabin, aircraft seat design, and strategies to safeguard jobs and locations. Other interdisciplinary topics are the increasing automation of aircraft systems and the optimization of development processes and tool chains up to and including hardware-in-the-loop tests.

In Materials and Production, all aspects of production are investigated. The research center’s scientists are working, for example, on accelerating and ensuring serial production, a faster market launch and early achievement of a high level of technological maturity. To do so they are developing new assembly processes as well as methods and innovative logistics concepts. Another project in this research area is the Digital Boarding Assistant, a prospective replacement for the boarding card that is designed to relay passenger data wirelessly to a computer system. Work is also under way on wireless cabin networks to provide high data rates. These wireless networks will also reduce cables, - i.e. weight, and simpliy assembly and installation.

All of the research center’s projects reflect both the competence of participating institutes and the current research requirements of aviation. Its success in the BMBF’s top-ranking cluster competition with Hamburg’s integrated New Flying strategy demonstrates that this kind of collaboration between science and industry is both wanted and important.