To reduce weight and fuel consumption, the entire fuselage of the Airbus A350 XWB consists of carbon fiber composite (CFC) materials. Before certification, the long-haul aircraft had to pass intensive tests. Airbus supplier FACC examined fiber composite materials and components of the A350 at the Composites Lab & Test Center (CoLT), a subsidiary on the company’s premises in St. Martin (Austria).
Tests for the certification of the winglets and wingtips were extensive. In total, the test object was 8 m long, 2 m high and 3 m wide – around 110 tons of steel were used on the test stand. The entire element was analyzed statically and dynamically for long-term and peak loading. The tests also included damage tolerance testing.
Along with standard measurement techniques, for the first time, the FACC subsidiary fully integrated non-contact sensors from GOM in the test setup. Unlike conventional methods such as strain gauges the two PONTOS systems recorded 3D displacements and deformations of the winglet.
Optical measuring systems also accelerated the test setup. For instance, 200 strain gauge positions were marked and applied to the component within one working day.
The complete application note in English is available as PDF.