The Aerospace Research and Innovation Center (ARIC) supports the Khalifa University of Science and Technology’s cutting-edge research in aerospace engineering.
The center aligns itself with the strategic plan of Strata, a local composite aero-structures manufacturing operation. Its initial focus is on manufacturing and characterizing the properties of new and novel lightweight materials and structures for use in advanced aerospace applications. ARIC helps Strata to design and manufacture the next generation of high-performance aerospace structures. It also acts as a global research hub – collaborating with leading universities across the world, developing research opportunities over a broad spectrum of areas, and assisting technology transfer and innovation possibilities across the aerospace sector.
The center was founded in 2012 through a joint effort between by the Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (KUSTAR), and Mubadala Aerospace, in partnership with Strata. Since Khalifa University of Science and Technology’s establishment in February 2017, ARIC has broadened its activities to support the aerospace research being undertaken through Masdar Institute and The Petroleum Institute, which, along with the Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research, make up its three constituent universities. Two high impact research projects that have recorded advancements since launch are the Strata-sponsored research to develop smart industrialized robots, which is aimed at accelerating Strata’s production time and improve its product quality, and a project on porosity elimination during the manufacture of composite structures.
ARIC houses a wide range of facilities, including advanced manufacturing equipment for the cost-effective production of aerospace components, testing and characterization facilities for evaluating the properties of materials under extreme loading conditions, and advanced modeling capabilities for predicting the behavior of larger structures in operational conditions.
The center also plays a key role in the education of future engineers in current and next generation advanced aerospace technologies. ARIC encourages undergraduates to get involved with ongoing research through senior design projects, internships and independent study projects. Students also have the opportunity to spend time in overseas research laboratories and with leading aircraft manufacturers.
ARIC aims to develop an international reputation for cutting-edge research in aerospace technologies. The initial focus of the research activity will be on developing efficient techniques for manufacturing advanced composite and developing novel procedures for the automated manufacturing and assembly of aerospace components.
- To support the local aerospace industry in its drive to develop novel solutions for manufacturing lightweight structures.
- To educate and train students in the design and manufacture of the next generation of aircraft structures.
- To identify key technologies that will lead to a paradigm shift in aerospace design.
- To build long-term collaborations with the leading aircraft manufacturers and research institutes.
- To develop and maintain and effective intellectual property portfolio.
SENIOR MANAGEMENT BOARD
Senior Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies, Khalifa University
President, Khalifa University
Dr. Abdelqader Abusafieh
Head of Technology, Strata PJSC
Mansoor Abdulaziz Al Haj
Mubadala Development Company
Director of ARIC, Associate Dean for Research and Interim Chair of Aerospace Engineering
KURI Director and Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Assistant Professor, Aerospace Engineering
Assistant Professor, Aerospace Engineering
Professor, KURI & ECE
Associate Professor, Robotics and Biomedical Engineering
Assistant Professor, Robotics Institute
RESEARCH AND SUPPORT STAFF
Mr Davis Myers
Mr. Pradeep George
Mr. Mahesh Kannath
Mr. Hussam Al Hussein
Mr. Dereck Bastienne
Dr. Alia Aziz
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Dr. Sanjeev Rao
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Dr. Hamza Bendemra
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Dr. Toufiq Al Khawli
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Aishah Al Antali
Mariam Al Dhaheri
Out of Autoclave Manufacture of Advanced Composites
The aim of this project is to fully understand out-of-autoclave (OOA) techniques for manufacturing large composite parts for the aerospace industry.The use of resin transfer molding (an OOA technique) enables large structures such as the stiffened aircraft skins to be manufactured both quickly and cost-effectively.
Void Formation and Growth in High-Performance Composites
This project aims to identify and understand the mechanisms responsible for the formation of voids during the processing of large aircraft structures. Analytical and numerical models will be developed and applied to simple panels. Once fully verified, the models will be used to predict the processes of void formation and growth in larger structures. This information will ultimately be used to help in the manufacture of defect-free aircraft components.
An Advanced Parallel Kinematic Drilling Facility
The aim of this project is to develop a robotic system for automatic drilling in the airplane part manufacturing. The project is using an off-the-shelf drilling end effector and integrating it into a lightweight parallel kinematic robot (PKR) that is designed to locate and position on current assembly fixtures.
The PKR capability offers the following advantages: (i) No changes to current process and fixtures apart from locating features (ii) Light weight and easily moved between fixtures (iii) Manual operations can occur in the vicinity of the robot (iv) Lower costs allowing several to be deployed simultaneously.
Automated Nutplate Installation
Nutplates are extensively used as a “blind” fastening system for detachable panels. The nutplate houses a threaded nut and is fastened to the substructure to prevent it from turning. The aim of this research project is to develop an automated capability for fitting nutplates to a complex structure. The initial phases of the project will be to develop and integrate a mechanism that is able to fit the nutplate to a flat plate. This will then be extended to add the capability of operating autonomously around a more complex component.
The following equipment is available at ARIC:
- Resin transfer molding (RTM) press
- RTM injection system
- Small press
- Clicking press
- Vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM)
- Equipment X-ray computed tomography (XCT) machine
- Permeability fixtures (in-plane and through-thickness)
- Polishing and grinding equipment
- Optical microscope
- Kuka KR60HA Robot
- Mitsubishi RV-6 SEL robot
- H. Alhussein, R. Umer, S. Rao, E. Swery, S. Bickerton and W.J. Cantwell, Characterization of 3D woven reinforcements for liquid composite molding processes, Journal of Materials Science, 51, 2016, pp3277-3288.
- H.Z. Jishi, R. Umer and W.J. Cantwell. The fabrication and mechanical properties of novel composite lattice structures. Materials and Design, 91, 2016, pp286-293.
- S. Rao, R. Umer, J. Thomas and W.J. Cantwell. Investigation of peel resistance during the fibre placement process, Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites, 35, 2016, pp275-286.
- J. Nam, W.J. Cantwell, R. Das, A. Lowe and S. Kalyanasumdaram, Deformation behavior of steel/SRPP fibre metal laminate characterized by evolution of surface strains. Advances in Aircraft and Spacecraft Science, 3, 2016, pp61-75.
- J. Zhou, Z. Guan, R. Umer, S. Balawi and W.J. Cantwell, Scaling Effects in the Compression Behavior of Sandwich Structures with Corrugated Composite Cores, Proc. European Conference on Composite Materials, ECCM17, 2016.
- S. Rao, M. Al Kuwaiti, V. Barber, A. Abusafieh and W. J. Cantwell, Effect of dwell time on the properties of composite materials, Proc. European Conference on Composite Materials, ECCM17, 2016.
- R. Umer, H. Z. Jishi and W. J. Cantwell, Novel lattice structures based on continuous fibers: Fabrication and mechanical properties, Proc. European Conference on Composite Materials, ECCM17, 2016.
- R. C. Santiago, W. J. Cantwell, M.Alves, Finite element modelling of thermoplastic fiber metal laminates subjected to impact loadings, Brazilian Conference on Composite Materials, BCCM3, 2016.
- “Fillers and Reinforcements for Advanced Nanocomposites”. Editors; Y. Dong, R. Umer and K. T. Lau. Woodhead Publishers.
- Y. Li, R. Umer, K. Liao. Synergistic effect of carbon nanotube and graphene on multi-functional properties of their polymer composites. In “Multi-Functionality of Polymer Composites: Challenges and New Solutions”. Editors Klaus Friedrich, Ulf Breuer.
- R. Umer, Y. Li, K. Liao, H. Haroosh, Y. Dong, Processing of hierarchical nano composites. In “Fillers and Reinforcements for Advanced Nanocomposites”. Editors Y. Dong, R. Umer, A. Lau.
- R.A. Alia, Z. Guan, N. Jones and W.J. Cantwell, The energy-absorption characteristics of metal tube-reinforced polymer foams, Journal of Sandwich Structures and Materials, 17, 2015, pp74-94.
- J. Zhou, Z.W. Guan and W.J. Cantwell, The influence of strain-rate on the perforation resistance of fiber metal laminates, Composite Structures, 2015, 125, pp247-255.
- R. Umer, Y. Li, Dong, Y., H. Haroosh, H. and K. Liao, The effect of graphene oxide (GO) nanoparticles on processing of epoxy/glass fiber composites using resin infusion, International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology. 81, 2015,: pp2183-2192.
- R.A. Alia, Z.W. Guan, R. Umer and W.J. Cantwell, The energy-absorbing properties of internally reinforced composite-metal cylinders with various diameter to thickness ratios, Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites, 34, 2015, pp731-741.
- M.R. Abdullah, Y. Prawoto and W.J. Cantwell, Interfacial fracture of the fibre-metal laminates based on fibre reinforced thermoplastics, Materials and Design, 66, 2015, pp446-452.
- S. Rao, R. Umer and W.J. Cantwell, An evaluation of the compression response of high-performance prepregs for AFP applications, Polymer and Polymer Composites, 23, 2015, pp389-398.
- A.Schiffer, W.J. Cantwell, An analytical model of the dynamic response of circular composite plates to high-velocity impact, International Journal of Impact Engineering, 85, 2015, pp67-82.
- H.Z. Jishi, R. Umer and W.J. Cantwell, The fabrication and mechanical properties of novel composite lattice structures, Materials and Design, 91, 2015, pp286-293.
- S. Rao, R. Umer, S. H. Gohar and W. J. Cantwell, ‘Evaluation of Peel Resistance of Out-Of-Autoclave Prepregs’, in Proc. 20th Int. Conference on Composite Materials, Copenhagen, July 2015.
- H.Z. Jishi, R. Umer, Z. Barsoum and W.J. Cantwell, The mechanical properties of sandwich structures based on composite column cores, in Proc. 20th Int. Conference on Composite Materials, Copenhagen, July 2015.
- R. Umer, H. AlHussein, S. Rao and W.J. Cantwell, Through thickness compaction response of 3D woven fabrics, in Proc. 20th Int. Conference on Composite Materials, Copenhagen, July 2015.
- H. AlHussein, R. Umer, S. Rao and W.J. Cantwell, In-plane and through-thickness permeability characterization of 3D woven reinforcements, in Proc. 20th Int. Conference on Composite Materials, Copenhagen, July 2015.
- Shen, W.J. Cantwell, R. Mines and Y. Li, Low-velocity impact performance of lattice structure core based sandwich panels, Journal of Composite Materials, 48, 2014, pp3153-3167.
- M. Altenaiji, Z.W. Guan, W.J. Cantwell, Y.Y. Zhao and G.K. Schleyer, Characterisation of aluminium matrix syntatctic foams under drop-weight impact loading,Materials and Design, 59, 2014, pp296-302.
- G.S. Langdon, W.J. Cantwell, Z. Guan and G.N. Nurick, The response of polymeric composite structures to air-blast loading: a state-of-the-art, International Materials Reviews, 59, 2014, pp159-177.
- M.Y.M Zuhri, Z. Guan and W. J. Cantwell, The Mechanical Properties of Environmentally-Friendly Honeycomb Core Materials, Composites Part B: Engineering, 58, 2014, pp1-9.
- A. Ruzanna, W.J. Cantwell, G.S. Langdon, S.C.K. Yuen and G.N. Nurick, The Energy-absorbing Characteristics of Composite Tube-reinforced Foam Structures. Composites Part B: Engineering, 61, 2014, pp127-135.
- Z.W. Guan, A. Aktas, P. Potluri, W.J. Cantwell, G.S. Langdon, and G.N. Nurick, The blast resistance of stitched sandwich panels, International Journal of Impact Engineering, 65, 2014, pp137-145
- M.R. Rejab, K. Ushijima and W.J. Cantwell, The shear response of corrugated core structures, Journal of Composite Materials. 48, 2014, pp3789-3798.
- R. Umer, S. Balawi, P. Raja and W.J. Cantwell, The Energy Absorbing Characteristics of Polymer Foams Reinforced with Bamboo Tubes, Journal of Sandwich Structures and Materials, 16, 2014, pp108-122.
- M.Z. Hassan, R. Umer, S. Balawi and W.J Cantwell, The Impact Response of Environmentally-friendly Sandwich Structures, Journal of Composite Materials, 48, 2014, pp3083-3090.
- E. Sitnikova, Z.W. Guan, W.J. Cantwell and G.K. Schleyer, Modelling of perforation failure in fibre metal laminates subjected to high impulsive blast loading. International Journal of Solids and Structures, 2014, 51 pp 3135-3146.
- Y Dong, T Mosaval, HJ Haroosh, R. Umer, H Takagi, K Lau, The potential of using electrospun PLA nanofibres as alternative reinforcements in an epoxy composite system. Journal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics, 52, 2014, pp618-623.
- J. Zhou, J., Z.W. Guan, W.J. Cantwell and L. Liao, The Energy-Absorbing Behaviour of Foam Cores Reinforced with Composite Rods Composite Structures. Composite Structures, 116, 2014, pp 346-356.
- Y.O. Shen, F.J. Yang, W.J. Cantwell, S. Balawi and Y. Li, Geometrical effects in the impact response of the aluminium honeycomb sandwich structures, Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites, 33, 2014, pp1148-1157.
- A.Alia, Z.W. Guan, R. Umer, S. Balawi and W.J. Cantwell, The Energy-absorbing Characteristics of Tube-reinforced Foam Structures, Proceedings of the International Conference on Impact Loading of Lightweight Structures, ICILLS, Cape Town, 2014
- R.A Alia, Z. Guan, W.J. Cantwell, and A.K. Haldar, Modelling of Energy-absorbing Behavior of Polymer Foams Reinforced Metallic Tubes, Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Computational Methods, Cambridge, England, 28-30th July, 2014. ScienTech Publishing, Cambridge, UK.
- T. Boonkong, Y.O. Shen, Z.W. Guan and W.J. Cantwell, Numerical modeling of curvilinear corrugated-core sandwich structures subjected to low velocity impact loading , Proceedings of the Automation and Green Energy Vehicle Conference, AiGEV2014, Malaysia.
- A.K. Haldar, J. Mathew, W.J.Cantwell and Z Guan, A 3D Knowledge-Based On complicated Mould Design system Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Computational Methods, Cambridge, England, 28-30th July, 2014. ScienTech Publishing, Cambridge, UK.
- Z.W. Guan and W.J. Cantwell
Modelling dynamic response of lightweight composites and the validation against experimental measurements
Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics SEM Fall Conference, Beijing 2014.
- J. Zhou, G.W. Guan and W.J. Cantwell, Modelling compressive crush of composite tube reinforced foam sandwiches. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Computational Methods, Cambridge, England, 28-30th July, 2014. ScienTech Publishing, Cambridge, UK.
- M. Y. Zuhri, Z.W. Guan and W.J. Cantwell, Properties of Flax-Based Composite Interlocking Structures. the 5th International Conference on Computational Methods, Cambridge, England, 28-30th July, 2014. ScienTech Publishing, Cambridge.
- J. Zhou J., G.W. Guan and W.J. Cantwell, Numerical modelling of perforation impact damage of fibre metal laminates. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Computational Methods, Cambridge, England, 28-30th July, 2014. ScienTech Publishing, Cambridge, UK.
- M. Zuhri, Z.W. Guan and W.J. Cantwell The energy absorption of environmentally-friendly structures based on bamboo tubes. Proc. Int. Conference on Composites Engineering, ICCE, Malta 2014
- S. Rao, J. Chen and W.J. Cantwell. Cost and weight optimization of fiber reinforced honeycomb sandwich Panels,
Proc. 8th Australasian Congress on Applied Mechanics, ACAM8, Melbourne, Australia.
- A. Ruzanna, Z. Guan and W.J. Cantwell The Energy-absorbing characteristics of composite tube-reinforced foam structures, Proc Int. Conference on Experimental Mechanics, ICEM16, Cambridge, UK.
- M Smith, R. Mines and WJ Cantwell, Static and impact behaviour of a wing leading edge configuration with a micro lattice core, Proc Int. Conference on Experimental Mechanics, ICEM16, Cambridge, UK.
- J. Nam, W. Cantwell, R. Das, A. Lowe, S. Kalyanasundara, Effect of blankholder force on draw forming of steel/SRPP fibre metal laminates, Proc. European Conference on Composite Materials, ECCM16, 2014.
- W.J. Cantwell and Z. Guan, The impact behaviour of composites and sandwich structures, Proc. European Conference on Composite Materials, ECCM16, 2014.
- R.A. Alia, Z.W. Guan and W.J. Cantwell, The energy absorbing behaviour of polymer foams reinforced with composite tubes, Proc. European Conference on Composite Materials, ECCM16, 2014.
- A.K. Haldar, Z.W. Guan and W.J. Cantwell, Compressive characteristics of a novel contour core,
Proc. European Conference on Composite Materials, ECCM16, 2014.
- K. Ushijima, W.J Cantwell and D.H. Chen, Effect of non-uniform cells on the mechanical performance of microlattice structure, 17th U.S. National Congress on Theoretical & Applied Mechanics, 2014.
- M. Smith, Z. Guan and W.J. Cantwell, Finite Element Modelling of the Compression response of lattice structures manufactured using the selective laser melting technique, Journal of Mechanics of Materials and Solids. 67, 2013, pp28-41.
- K. Ushijima, W.J. Cantwell, D.H. Chen, Prediction of the mechanical properties of micro-lattice structures subjected to multi-axial loading, International Journal of Mechanical Sciences, 68, 2013, pp47-55.
- M. Smith, Z. Guan and W.J. Cantwell, Finite Element Modeling of the Compressive Response of Lattice Structures Manufactured Using the Selective Laser Melting Technique, International Journal of Mechanical Sciences, 67, 2013, pp28-41.
- M.R. Rejab and W.J. Cantwell, The mechanical behaviour of corrugated-core sandwich panels, Composites – Part B. Engineering, 47, 2013, pp267-277.
- C. Santulli, H.T. Kuan, F. Sarasini, M. de Rosa and W.J. Cantwell, Damage characterisation on PP-hemp/aluminium fibre-metal laminates using acoustic emission, Journal of Composite Materials 47, 2013, pp2265-2274.
- J. Zhou, Z. Guan and W.J. Cantwell, The impact response of graded foam sandwich structures, Composite Structures, 97, 2013, pp370-377.
- S. Davey, R. Das, W.J. Cantwell and S. Kalyanasundaram, Forming studies of carbon fibre composite sheets in dome forming processes, Composite Structures, 97, 2013, pp431-437.
- K.S.C. Kuang, S.T. Quek and W.J. Cantwell, Active control of a smart composite with shape memory alloy sheet using a plastic optical fiber sensor, Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, 201, 2013, pp182-187.
- Y. Li, R. Umer, L. Zheng, K. Liao, Synergistic toughening of epoxy with carbon nanotube and graphene oxide for improved long-term performance, RSC Advances, 3, 2013, pp8849-8856.
- Y. Li, R. Umer, L. Zheng, K. Liao, The effect of ultrasonication on the mechanical properties of graphene oxide enhanced polymer matrix composites, Carbon, 55, 2013, pp321-327.
- J Zhou, Z.W. Guan, W.J. Cantwell, Numerical modelling of perforation resistance of foam based sandwich panels, Proc. 19th Int. Conference on Composite Materials, ICCM19, Montreal.
- M. Smith, Z. Guan, W.J. Cantwell and R. Mines, Modelling wing leading edge made with SLM lattice core and CFRP skin,
Proc. 19th Int. Conference on Composite Materials, ICCM19, Montreal.
- J Zhou, Z.W. Guan, W.J. Cantwell, Numerical modelling of graded foam based sandwich structures subjected to impact,
- Z. Guan, J. Zhou and W.J. Cantwell, Proc. 19th Int. Conference on Composite Materials, ICCM19, Montreal.
Modeling structural behavior of PVC foam sandwich panels reinforced by CFRP pins
- EAT 97271 PCT/IB2016/051625 METHOD OF MANUFACTURING LIGHTWEIGHT COMPOSITE LATTICE STRUCTURES
- EAT 97265 PCT/IB2016/051626 LIGHTWEIGHT COMPOSITE SINGLE-SKIN SANDWICH LATTICE STRUCTURES
- EAT 97268 PCT/IB2016/051627 LIGHTWEIGHT COMPOSITE LATTICE STRUCTURES
- US - Provisional Patent Application No. 62/120,952 PARALLEL MECHANISM BASED AUTOMATED FIBER PLACEMENT SYSTEM”
On November 22nd 2015, H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Khalifa University, visited the Aerospace Research and Innovation Center.
During the visit, His Highness met with students working a Senior Design project on an all-composite Tactical UAV project jointly supervised with the Department of Aerospace Engineering. His Highness also viewed other research projects and had discussions with engineers from both ARIC and Strata.
New equipment at ARIC
- In March 2016, ARIC took delivery of a Nanotom X-ray Computed Tomography machine from GE. The X-CT equipment will be employed on a number of key projects. For example, the scanner will be used to identify and characterize damage and defects in advanced composite structures and also to understand the mechanisms of fluid flow through porous media, such as fibrous beds.
- In May 2016, ARIC took delivery of a Scholz autoclave. This new facility will be used to manufacture panels up to 1.5 meters in size and has a maximum operating temperature of 400 oC. The autoclave will be used to understand the causes of porosity and voiding in aerospace structures and also to manufacture large panels for use in the on-going automation projects within ARIC.
- In October 2016 ARIC acquired a robotic arm to further its efforts in developing cutting-edge solutions that can support the future of manufacturing aircraft components in the UAE. The state-of-the-art KUKA robot was recently installed at ARIC’s facility located on Khalifa University’s Abu Dhabi Campus.
The agreement to establish the ARIC research Center was signed at the Dubai Airshow in 2013. The AED 55 million ARIC project will have approximately 50 percent of the investment placed in establishing state of the art research facilities and capabilities, with the remainder being invested in research and development (R&D) projects that are directly related to the needs of the aerospace industry in the UAE.
- AED 55 million funding from Khalifa University, Mubadala Aerospace and Strata, valid from 2013-2018.
- Automation of Composite Manufacturing Processes for Aerospace Structures, PI: Dr. Rehan Umer, Co-PI: Dr. Dongming Gan, 390k AED, 1/1/2013 – 31/12/2014, KUIRF – L1
- Super-strong and Multifunctional Carbon-Nanotube-Fiber Reinforced Composites for Aerospace Applications, PI L. Zheng, CI. Kin Liao, W.J. Cantwell and R. Umer, 2 Million AED, 2014-2016, KUIRF-L2.
The Aerospace Research and Innovation Center has fully-funded scholarships for students wishing to undertake a Masters or PhD degree. The research projects will be linked to the major projects being undertaken with ARIC and will involve working closely with the aerospace industry on the latest technological challenges.
The Aerospace Research and Innovation Center (ARIC) invites applications from students who wish to undertake a research internship for up to 3 months. Subject to the availability of project-specific funding, ARIC will consider students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels for internships. To learn more about current vacancies, please submit an expression of research interest along with a complete CV to .