Airbus has created the first-ever single-piece composite centre wing box representing an important progress of this vital structural component that provides support and rigidity for an aircraft’s wings.
It was designed by research and technology teams at Airbus’ Toulouse and Nantes facilities in France as an upgrade to conventional multi-part centre wing boxes, with 20 per cent reduction in manufacturing costs.
The single-piece composite centre wing box fully leverages advances in composite technologies, including the moulding of complex parts combined with continuous fibre. This makes it easier to assemble, and provides superior load-bearing properties.
According to project leader Denis Soula, the initiative which already has demonstrated its feasibility was assisted by external partners, including STRUCTIL and JAMCO and carbon fibre lay-up specialist CORIOLIS.
The teams’ next goal is to set up the single-piece composite centre wing box for industrialisation using a full-scale demonstrator, with the aim of readying it for use on next-generation aircraft.