The study design collision resistance of structural elements of aircraft and land vehicles

At the end of December 2009 The Ministry of Science and Higher Education decided to grant the realization of developmental project by scientific-industrial consortium, represented by Materials and Structures Research Center. The project “Research methods and system for impact testing of aircraft and land vehicles subcomponents for passengers safety evaluation“ was submitted for 9th competition of developmental projects in the range of defense and safety.


The project is being performed by consortium represented by MSRC and formed by Institute of Aviation (leader) , Institute for Sustainable Technologies from Radom and PZL Mielec, A Sikorsky Aircraft Company. Total budget for this project is about 3 000 000 PLN.

The project is going to be accomplished until 2011 and the main task is to develop system for impact tests of aircraft and land vehicles subcomponents and shields. The basic element of the system will be gas gun (Fig.1) with capability to shoot projectiles (birds, ice, pieces of metal, etc.) up to 38 lbs (total mass of projectile including sabot) at velocity close to sonic barrier. Maximum barrel diameter will be 10 inches.. Technical specifications of the gun were prepared and manufacturing process of parts was launched last months.

Fig. 1. 3D view of gas gun.

The system will be installed in one of Institute of Aviation premises. The first tests are planned to be carried out in Institute in the middle of the year 2011.
Impact effects will be measured by strain gauges and recorded by 16 channels measurement system with sampling rate up to 20 kHz. High speed video camera (10300 pictures per second at 640 x 480 resolution) will be used for visual recording of tests.In addition, numerical simulations of impact tests are performed using LS-Dyna FEM software (Fig.2). The main task of simulation will be analysis of birds impact on aircraft subcomponents. Nowadays, artificial birds (projectiles manufactured from gelatine and formed into a simple geometry to represent the principal mass of the bird) is often used instead the real birds in impact tests. Gelatine projectiles will be modeled with application of SPH (smoothed particles hydrodynamics) method.

Fig. 2. Example of impact test simulation with using LS-Dyna software.

One of the impact test object, apart from basic aluminum and composite plates will be pilots cabin of PZL M-28 Skytruck aircraft (Fig.3).

PZL M-28 Skytruck aircraft and cabin for impact tests

Fig. 3. PZL M-28 Skytruck aircraft and cabin for impact tests.