Among the technologies developed by NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) project, there is a new process for stitching together large sections of lightweight composite materials to create damage-tolerant structures. This technology could be used in building future aircraft that weighs up to 20 percent less than a similar aircraft made with traditional metals, which will result in lower fuel consumption and lower pollution.
This new technology called PRSEUS has a key feature: should any tears or holes open up in the aircraft structure for whatever reason, the unique design of the stitched composite material will arrest the damage and not allow it to get worse, informs NASA.
Another interesting technological solution being developed by ERA researchers – is tiny nozzles to blow air over the surface of the vertical tail, which helps to stabilize the aircraft while reducing the weight of the tail. During tests carried out at Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator 757 lab, the scientists found that smaller fins could be produced safely. Smaller fins reduce weight and weight drag.
“If these technologies start finding their way into the airline fleet, our computer models show the economic impact could amount to $255 billion in operational savings between 2025 and 2050,” said Jaiwon Shin, NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics research.
By 2015, the National Aerospace Agency of the USA invested in the Environmentally Responsible Aviation project more than $400 million. Around the same time, the agency conducted the first stage of Mars habitat competition.
The US administration has consistently pursued a policy of supporting innovation in the country: 2016 US budget allocated almost $ 2.5 billion for the development and implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies; U.S. Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute raised $325 mln.