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Fakultät Technik und Informatik
Department Fahrzeugtechnik und Flugzeugbau
Fakultät Technik und Informatik

Prof. Asp explains potential multifunctional vehicle structures (Bild: Maximilian Schutzeichel)

International research exchange in multifunctional composite structures and batteries

Maximilian Schutzeichel, MSc06.11.2019

On 29th of October our research colleagues Leif Asp (Full Professor) and David Carlstedt (M.Sc., PhD-candidate) from Chalmers University of Technology (Gothenburg, Sweden) visited us at HAW Hamburg Campus Berliner Tor for a research exchange. The two researchers are interested in lightweight multifunctional composite structures, especially structural batteries. They presented their research amongst further contributions from Departments F+F and I+E. Furthermore, interested colleagues from Airbus Operations GmbH, Department M+P as well as students from our university attended the meeting. This exchange was fruitful for all of us and enabled further international collaboration between our two Universities.

The topic of this research exchange was “Multifunctional structures” with a spotlight on “structural batteries”, “battery systems” and further “multifunctional composites”. The basic idea of this research field is the enhancement of lightweight design on a system level by joining structural functions (load bearing) with further physical functions like e.g. electricity. This is possible by applying more than one physical property of a material as a function. One example is the carbon fibre, which is commonly used as a stiffening element in a composite laminate, but is also electrically conductive. The conductivity is typically not used in a vehicle structure. If one uses the conductivity of the carbon fibre, which is already built in, a cable which is normally on top of the structure could be omitted. This leads to a reduction of material/installation effort and a system mass reduction. Enhanced lightweight design in general is beneficial to reduce energy consumption of a vehicle, thus reducing CO2 emission.


Leif Asp and David Carlstedt are looking into structural batteries (Structure with battery function) to enable a “massless” energy storage. Therefore, they investigate the multifunctional properties of a structural battery by simulation and in experiments. Last week they presented their latest results and draw an optimistic image for applications of this technology in future vehicles. Furthermore, they explained, that future electric propulsion of vehicles and especially of airplanes is only “affordable” in mass, when the energy storage technology becomes lightweight. With their technology, they are on a promising way to meet this demand.


Prof. Dr. Karl-Ragmar Riemschneider and Dr. Florian Rittweger introduced their research on wireless cell controllers for battery systems, which directly addressed the field of our guests. Monitoring and control of structural battery systems could be done with the technology from our battery research group around Karl-Ragmar Riemschneider. They reported on the enhancement of battery efficiency with their controller system. Furthermore, new experimental techniques for electrode performance indication via optical fibre sensors have been topic of that day. Very interesting, especially since the controllers they use are very small, smart and lightweight.


Maximilian Schutzeichel (PhD candidate at HAW Hamburg, supervised by Prof. Dr. Monner from DLR Braunschweig and Prof. Dr. Kletschkowski from HAW Hamburg) introduced his research in the area of multifunctional composites, with an emphasis on de-icing systems via carbon fibre reinforced plastics. The aim is to apply the carbon fibres as joule heating elements, for example in aircraft wing leading edges, where thermal heat is needed to de-ice the wing. This is done to assure the aerodynamic performance of the wing. Compared to classical de-icing systems based on “bleed air” (hot air from the aircraft engine) this technology promises a permanent mass reduction on system level. Since this technology has multiple common challenges in material characterization and simulation, further collaboration with Leif Asp and David Carlstedt is planned.
Thomas Kletschkowski reported on adaptive noise management based on an inverse method. This method enables the location of noise sources in vehicle interiors, thus leading to efficient placement and control of acoustic actors. With this method not only the acoustic management is possible, but also the applications in structural dynamics. With a multifunctional structure combined with the inverse method, vibrations in vehicle lightweight structures could be reduced in the future. With this idea the “lightweight design thinking” was appointed again, since the function of “vibration management” could be realized with a multifunctional structure, avoiding further mass effort. This concept is totally new and Thomas Kletschkowski highlighted that further work in this promising field is needed to enable future applications.


Finally, the student team of “New Flying” presented its activities in the area of 1) The aircraft design competition “New flying competition” and 2) In the area of their flight demonstrator project. Especially the flight demonstrator project is interesting for all people dealing with the field of multifunctional structures. The possibility to test devices which include new technologies enables the transfer from basic research to industrial applications. We are happy to have such a platform at our Department for Automotive and Aeronautical Engineering. However, this is only possible due to the continuous engagement of the team members, spending more than 10.000 hours of voluntary work each year to realize these projects. Thanks!


Summarizing, this day was a unique research exchange in a new but fast developing field. The speakers showed, that enhanced lightweight design is possible on a systems level, addressing future needs in emission reduction of vehicles on ground and in the air. We were happy to host our guests from Sweden and of course further guests like Adj. Prof. Dr. Peter Linde from Airbus Operations GmbH, Airframe Research and Technology and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jens Telgkamp from the Department M+P. Last but not least a great thank you to all people at HAW Hamburg who supported this interesting day.

Letzte Änderung: 28.10.19

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