Collier Research Corp. (Newport News, VA), the maker of HyperSizer and supplier of engineering software to the aerospace industry, announced that it has become a member of NASA’s Advanced Composites Consortium (ACC; Hampton, VA). The ACC aims to bring better composite materials analysis (including composite fiber-reinforced plastic), design and manufacturing into practice to help maintain American leadership in aviation manufacturing. The consortium was formed by NASA in support of the Advanced Composites Project, which is part of the Advanced Air Vehicles Program in the agency’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. The project’s goal is to reduce product development and certification timelines by 30% for composite aircraft.
“The push to take weight out of structures designed for flight is leading to a greater use of composites in the aerospace industry,” said Craig Collier, President of Collier Research. “As these advanced materials are more complex to certify than metals, the use of automated, integrated analysis and design-performance optimization is critical—from the earliest stages of development all the way through manufacturing—to ensure that composites are used most effectively and certified for flight most efficiently.”
Collier, the only software company in the ACC, is among the newest members joining the original group formed in 2015, which consists of the NASA Langley Research Center, FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center, Boeing Co., General Electric Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., United Technologies Corp. and the National Institute of Aerospace.
Also new to the ACC are Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., Orbital ATK, the University of South Carolina McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research and the Wichita State University National Institute for Aviation Research.
Collier has been appointed Cooperative Research Team Leader of two initiatives: Rapid tools (automation of composite layups) and design for manufacturing. “Rapid tools are important because the bulk of aircraft design development and structural certification analysis revolves around them,” Collier said. “The design maturation process spans several years. Shortening this long portion of the schedule will have a huge impact on the aircraft production timeline.”