Interviews, TECHNOLOGY

Vladimir Nelyub: “Aviation moves from metal to composites”

Invest-Foresight talks about the latest achievements of Russian aerospace materials science and what Russia can answer to SpaceX. Our interlocutor is Vladimir Nelyub, Dr. of Engineering, director of the Intersectoral Engineering Center “Composites of Russia” of Moscow State Technical University named after N. E. Bauman, as well as director of the Center of NTI “Digital Materials Science: New Materials and Substances.”

— Vladimir Alexandrovich, what projects for the aerospace industry are Composites of Russia working on now?

— Our center was originally created to solve engineering problems at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University, which is especially famous for its developments and personnel for aviation and space. We have solved a large number of scientific and applied cases for these areas.

Currently, working on improving air transport efficiency, the world aviation industry is actively moving from metal structures to a new type of structural solutions based on composite materials. Responding to these technical challenges, we are not only engaged in the creation of new materials, but also of their digital twins.

This is an engineering software with a database on the properties of materials with an integrated decision-making system based on artificial intelligence. The application of the developed software allows to accelerate the development and placement for production of new products by 2-3 times, reduce the cost of product development by up to 50%, increase operational characteristics and service life.

Within the framework of the Competence Center of STI “Digital Materials Science: New Materials and Substances” of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University, which was created in December 2020, a number of projects are also being implemented, including those for the aerospace industry: development of the flaps of the tank of the Be-200 ChS aircraft with the creation of a digital twin; development of new functional oriented 2D and 3D PKM, including using graphene and its analogues, and methods of their production using additive technologies; development of electrically conductive polymer compounds for articles, operating under extreme conditions; development of new thermoplastic binders and prepregs based on them, as well as digital methods of designing finished products.

Another project for the space industry, the implementation of which is under technical development, is the Cosmoprint project, aimed at developing an additive installation and a manipulator robot from PKM for printing metal structures in outer space. This direction is relevant and promising for Roscosmos Group of Companies and has not yet been implemented by a single country in the world.

The exposition at the MAKS featured a two-blade screw of an unmanned aerial vehicle made of polymeric composite materials. It has a number of distinctive features. Due to the main advantage – ultralight mass – the moment of inertia of the rotor decreases, which leads to a decrease in the required power to change the rotation speed upwards or downwards.

At MAKS, we also showed a compressor blade created according to our own method of producing preforms using TFP technology. In addition to achieving an optimal set of physical and mechanical parameters for operation, it has significant advantages over the traditional method of manufacture (manual laying of fabric). The blades of the GTE compressor based on preforms created according to our technology have been successfully tested and used to manufacture the impeller of the MHTE centrifugal compressor.

— Ensuring technological independence of the Russian Federation is one of the key directions of development of our country’s economy. What good examples of interaction between the MIC and industry in solving this problem can you give?

— We have already implemented more than 50 innovative projects in the industrial sectors of the economy. Among the implemented projects there are: development of impeller blades of a centrifugal compressor of a small gas turbine engine made of polymer composite materials using automated roving patching; creation of a reflector of space antennas with high geometric stability and durability under conditions of action of space factors; design and creation of a structure from a PCM of an unmanned aerial vehicle Orion. Now we have decided to develop a model in the digital twin system.

The leading cluster association of the largest manufacturers of composites was created — the Moscow Composite Cluster (MCC) and the Trading House on its basis for the sale of products of the largest manufacturers of composites and products based on them on the world market. Attention should also be paid to our Mosbazalt plant, this is a modern enterprise for the production of a wide range of products, which includes: construction basalt nets for various purposes, a large assortment of geosynthetic materials based on basalt, fiberglass and polymers. Per year, we produce up to 9 million square meters of grids.

— It is known that out of 100 high-tech startups, one or two usually survive. What are the statistics of the innovative projects of Composites of Russia? What percentage of ideas do reach real realization and yield commercial return?

— We never work “in stock”, just making reserves. At the stage of developing an innovative idea, we immediately analyze the market, its needs, and competitors. Moreover, we are commercially implementing our idea. Given this, we have 100% performance and achieve commercial returns. Among all projects, there are both R&D and ROC, while the share of ROC is 45% and also reaches real implementation.

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