ASTRA: Additive manufacturing for Systems and sTRuctures in Aerospace

The ASTRA multidisciplinary research group derives from the union of scientific skills in the field of additive manufacturing, systems and aerospace structures. In the additive manufacturing field, structures and elements are produced via 3D printing techniques such as the FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) technology; new bi-material sandwich configurations and electrically and thermally conductive elements are designed and produced via the 3D printing, according to the paradigm of multifunctional components, including integrated circuits and sensors that allow, for example, to reduce mass or to increase reliability through the verification of the functional status. The described elements and structures are characterized, designed, optimized and produced from the point of view of a wide range of applications in aeronautics and space, e.g., fixed or rotating wing aircraft with or without a remote control system.

In the framework of aerospace systems, innovative configurations of equipment are studied using the multi-interdisciplinary project paradigm, with particular reference to thermo-fluidic, mechanical and electromagnetic phenomenology; in particular we proceed with the non-linear modeling of aerospace systems, with application of multidisciplinary optimization techniques, and with the development of prototypes for laboratory experimentation. We are studying new configurations of flight control implementation systems, analyzing their characteristics, and developing numerical simulation models and monitoring strategies. We are studying prognostic approaches for the early identification of progressive failures in on-board systems and the estimate of their residual useful life.

In the framework of structures, experimental tests are carried out to characterize materials deriving from 3D printing technologies; we design and produce, by means of additive techniques, structural elements for aerospace applications; analytical and numerical structural models (mainly but not exclusively 3D) are developed for the analysis of complex geometries and advanced materials; we design and produce small aircraft characterized by innovative materials and solutions; numerical and experimental thermal, structural and functional analyses are performed  on trabecular structures for aerospace use.