A*STAR Showcases Innovations for Sustainable Aviation

A*STAR Showcases Innovations for Sustainable Aviation 
A*STAR's exhibition at Singapore Airshow 2014 highlights its R&D
initiatives in aviation 
Singapore, Feb 13, 2014 - (ACN Newswire) - The Agency for Science, Technology
and Research (A*STAR) will share its latest R&D initiatives for
sustainable aviation at the Singapore Airshow 2014 at Changi Exhibition
Centre, Booth D35 from 11th to 16th February. The innovations on display will
focus on four key areas: aviation remanufacturing technology; analytics;
aviation communications; and Non-Destructive Inspection (NDI) for composites
and structures. 
The focus on R&D comes at a crucial juncture when there is a need to cope
with the industry's demands. With approximately 3.3 billion people
expected to fly commercially by 2014, and 38 million tonnes of cargo to be
carried the same year[1], these research developments in manufacturing
efficiencies and maintenance processes will be critical for safe and
sustainable air travel and cargo services, and big data technologies will be
key for more efficient operations and handling passenger movement. 
- Showcase of New Research Capabilities for the Growth of Global Aerospace and
Aviation Industry at Airshow 2014 
The A*STAR showcase at the Airshow provides highlights of the
multi-disciplinary capabilities available across the Science and Engineering
research institutes, which the Aerospace Programme leverages on to address
broad and complex range of interests of its Research Consortium members for a
sustainable future. 
The cutting-edge innovations on display will focus on improving manufacturing,
maintenance and communication for sustainable aviation. Two of the highlights
that will be showcased at the Airshow are: 
* Laser aided additive manufacturing (LAAM): This additive manufacturing
process, also known as 3D printing, uses high energy laser beams to melt
additive materials to repair damaged parts or fabricate fully dense
components. The process can help shorten manufacturing time and reduce
material waste significantly. 
* Data Analytics: A*STAR will showcase its award-winning flight prediction
algorithm which, in a recent international competition, utilised data
analytics to estimate flight arrivals nearly 40 percent better than the
current industry estimates. This can result in greater efficiency for
airlines, with huge potential savings in fuel and crew costs and improved
convenience for passengers. Other data analytics innovations from A*STAR
include a cutting-edge sensor network system and analytics platform that can
accurately predict equipment failure; and a video analytics system with
real-time human crowd detection, cross-camera tracking, event detection and
semantic mining system for information discoveries. 
- Multi-disciplinary Research by the A*STAR Aerospace Programme for a
Sustainable Future in Aviation 
Since 2007, the A*STAR Aerospace Programme (AP) has undertaken and completed
more than 50 multi-disciplinary projects for the AP Consortium. These include
projects targeted at further development of sustainability solutions for
greater aircraft efficiency: 
* The introduction of a superhydrophobic coating can improve aircraft
operations and reduce potential mechanical damages to the aircraft. The
coating can repel water on the skin of aircraft to protect the surface from
condensation, friction, corrosion and mould. This will reduce drag and improve
aerodynamics, leading to better aircraft performances and fuel savings. This
technology will also be further developed by the Aerospace Programme into an
ice-phobic coating to reduce the formation of ice. 
* Through modelling, A*STAR researchers are better able to understand the
penetration mechanism of fluid and moisture into composite material, and their
effect on structural integrity and surface adhesion property. This is
significant as today's aircraft structures are commonly made up of
composite materials to reduce the weight of the aircraft in order to be more
fuel efficient. Understanding the characteristics of composites when exposed
to extensive water penetration will enable users to take preventive and
corrective measures under Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) activities. 
Mr. Tay Kok Khiang, Chairman of the A*STAR Aerospace Programme, said, "We
are honoured to have many of the leading Original Equipment Manufacturers and
Services companies in aviation within our Consortium. Over the years, since
the Aerospace Programme was formed in 2007, our researchers within SERC have
proven that they have the knowledge and capabilities to help our Consortium
members better understand their areas of interests and come up with innovative
solutions that enable our members to do more for their current and future
products. We hope that our contributions to the aviation industry will benefit
our members, many of whom have companies in Singapore, and further enhance the
potential of Singapore as an important aviation hub." 
Dr. Tan Geok Leng, Executive Director of A*STAR's Science and Engineering
Research Council, said, "With the explosive growth in air travel, the
ability to exploit science and technology will prove critical for industry
players to remain at the forefront of aviation.  Public-private collaborative
platforms, such as the A*STAR Aerospace Programme, will enable industry
players to leverage on A*STAR's cross-disciplinary research capabilities
for competitive advantage." 
Mr Bill Lyons, Director of Global Technology for Boeing, said, "Boeing is
a founding member of the A*STAR Aerospace Programme Consortium, and we've
been an active partner in collaboration of aerospace technology development.
We have been successful in transitioning the technologies developed by the
consortium to our manufacturing facilities with support from the A*STAR
research institutions. We look forward to strengthen our relationship with
A*STAR AP and its members and expand our mutually beneficial partnership with
A*STAR in Singapore." 
The current members of the AP Consortium include leading commercial airliner
manufacturers (Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer); large engines
manufacturers (GE, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce); components, systems
and specialist material OEMs (Hexcel, Honeywell, Panasonic and SAFRAN); key
players in aviation in Singapore (DSTA, SIA Engineering and ST Aerospace) and
local SMEs such as Addvalue Technologies, Flight Focus and TruMarine. 
List of Aviation Technologies Showcase @ A*STAR Booth 
- Aviation Theme 1: Aviation Communications 
1. Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Tool for Antennas on Airplane 
The electromagnetic interference (EMI) from transmitters / emitters can be a
serious problem for flight and munition safety as it disrupts the performance
of a circuit, causing loss of functionality and inadvertent activation of
systems. An advanced simulation technology is developed to solve the problem
of evaluating computing between two or more integrated sensor systems onboard
electrically large aircrafts. The developed simulation technology allows for
much faster analysis of sensors on aircrafts and help engineers identify
proper locations for the installation of new sensors on aircraft. 
2. Software Defined Radio 
Software Defined Radio (SDR) architecture integrates Policy-based Management
to create a platform that adapts automatically to changing conditions. SDR
technology replaces traditional hardware-based radio signal processing tasks
with software components while policy-based management allows configuration
and management decisions to be autonomously made by a computer system based on
a set of rules specified by the operator. In a space and weight constrained
application such as in an aircraft cabin, a single unit of the platform can be
used to provide wireless services to passengers using diverse access
technologies such as Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), Code
division multiple access (CDMA), wireless local area network (WLAN) and more,
keeping them connected throughout the flight. 
3. Disruption Tolerant Networking 
Disruption-tolerant networking (DTN), a new paradigm for message routing in
intermittently-connected networks, can be employed to mitigate these
challenges and enable reliable communications in airborne networks. 
- Aviation Theme 2: Non destructive inspection (NDI) for Composites &
Non destructive inspection (NDI) can greatly benefit maintenance, repairs and
overhaul (MRO) applications for timely detection of defects that can pose a
threat to aircraft safety. Some of the NDI techniques include: 
1. Detection system for water ingress (water leakage or seepage) 
Inspection of water ingress, or the leakage of water, is made easier with a
simple and sensitive process that will allow better strategies in preventive
maintenance of the aircraft. With this system, it will act as a tool for fast
and reliable detection of water ingress along the rivets/bolts in composite
2. Structured heating thermography 
Structured heating can highlight low contrast defects, also referred to a
degradation of Fiber Reinforced Plastics (FRPs), now in a more predictable
manner. This is an improvement from the lack of reliable tools that does not
usually detect such defects non-destructively. 
3. Millimeter Wave Inspection 
Early detection of corrosion is crucial to prevent relatively large area from
being rehabilitated, which may require significant time, resources, and
downtime. The initiation of corrosion is preceded by the presence of corrosion
precursor pittings. Detection of precursor pittings yields information about
the susceptibility to corrosion initiation. 
A millimeter wave signal (30GHz to 300GHz) is introduced through a
waveguide/antenna onto a sample under test. The signal is reflected back from
any slight variation in thickness and/or dielectric coatings such as paint and
corrosion, thereby revealing the presence and severity of a corroded region. 
4. Piezoelectric Sensors 
Piezoelectric sensors are not only able to listen to the occurrence of
structural failures and achieve real-time monitoring for structural damages,
but also can realize mechanical energy harvesting for powering up wireless
signal transmission. Piezoelectric ultrasonic NDT can offer the ability to
detect physical flaws with a large penetration depth. 
- Aviation Theme 3: Aviation Remanufacturing Technology 
1. Remanufacturing of Engine Components 
Engine Components can now be remanufactured through an interdisciplinary
approach using state-of-the-art technology. This can enhance capability, and
expand the range of repairable parts, whilst meeting stringent environmental
Successful remanufacturing of complex 3D components requires a host of
processes, including disassembly, cleaning, inspection for defects, digitising
of part geometry, adaptive repair and machining, and surface finishing. 
2. Laser Aided Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace Applications 
Using lasers, additive materials in the form of wire or powder can be melted
to build a part, layer by layer. This additive manufacturing process known as
Laser Aided Additive Manufacturing is capable of repairing damaged parts, as
well as directly fabricating fully dense components with the aid of CAD/CAM.
The process can reduce the manufacturing time and the material waste, reuse
the materials, reduce the down time and heavy capital expenditures for the
replacement with new parts. 
3. Stripping of Protective Coating on blades using Laser 
Environmentally-friendly laser can be used to strip off Thermal Barrier
Coating (TBC) and Bond Layer (BL) from aero engine components on platform and
around cooling holes rather than using corrosive agents. This technology uses
a robotic laser system with easy programming methodology for automated and
productive stripping of entire single vane. 
- Aviation Theme 4: Analytics 
(I) Image Analytics 
1. "De-Haze" Software 
With the "De-haze" software, images of outdoor scenes would no
longer be compromised by haze, fog and smoke, in terms of contrast and colour
fidelity. The haze removal technology effectively transforms the hazy image to
a sharper and clearer image. 
(II) Data Analytics 
2. Boosting Productivity with Predictive Monitoring 
Equipment failures and operational hiccups can be life-threatening in the
aviation industry and any emergency maintenance of such equipment failures is
often very costly and unproductive. This system consists of a sensor network
and an analytics platform to accurately predict equipment failure from
real-time updates of the equipment's condition. 
3. Flight Prediction 
The flight prediction algorithm won first place at the GE Flight Quest
Competition for producing flight arrival estimates that were 40% better than
the industry standard. This was achieved by creative extraction of features
and the application of Machine Learning techniques that automatically captured
the complex interaction between weather and congestion factors. This can help
airlines better predict flight timings which would help reduce cost, provide
greater efficiency and increase convenience for passengers. 
4. Understanding Events with Video Analytics 
Video Analytics makes use of machines to understand events, and will only
sound the alert when necessary. The system is a visualization tool with
real-time human crowd detection, cross-camera tracking, event detection and
semantic mining system for information discoveries. 
[1] Source: IATA Forecast Press Release 2011:
About A*STAR 
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's
lead public sector agency that fosters world-class scientific research and
talent to drive economic growth and transform Singapore into a vibrant
knowledge-based and innovation driven economy. 
In line with its mission-oriented mandate, A*STAR spearheads research and
development in fields that are essential to growing Singapore's
manufacturing sector and catalysing new growth industries. A*STAR supports
these economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial
capital to its partners in industry. 
A*STAR oversees 18 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering
research entities, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis, as well as their
vicinity. These two R&D hubs house a bustling and diverse community of
local and international research scientists and engineers from A*STAR's
research entities as well as a growing number of corporate laboratories.
Please visit www.a-star.edu.sg. 
Ms. Fazilah Latif
Officer, Corporate Communications
DID: +65 6419 6529
Mobile: +65 9009 1973
Email: fazilah-latif@scei.a-star.edu.sg 
Ms. Doris Yang
Senior Officer, Corporate Communications
DID: +65 6419 6525
Mobile: +65 9367 5336
Email: yangscd@scei.a-star.edu.sg 
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