We are aiming to improve how thermal studies are performed within aircraft design by modelling and simulating airframe systems and components.

Key Facts

    • The three-year European collaborative project called TOICA (Thermal Overall Integrated Conception of Aircraft) secured total funding of €26.5 million.

    • The project consortium, led by Airbus, includes 32 organisations from eight countries, drawn from the aerospace and IT industries, advanced research centres and academic institutions.

  • Funded by European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Impact of our research

This project intends to radically improve the way thermal studies (studying how the properties of materials change with temperature) are performed within aircraft design processes. This is by simultaneously modelling and simulating the thermal behaviour of aircraft airframe systems, equipment and components in a collaborative environment.

Future generations of aircraft are expected to be better equipped to address thermal challenges thanks to the ability to model and simulate the thermal behaviour of the whole aircraft.

Arcadia data
Fragment of an airframe system architecture, showing what functions are needed and the actual components performing these functions.

Why the research was commissioned

Thermal behaviour of aircraft has become a crucial subject due to many factors – the increasing number of complex systems required by modern, more electric, commercial aircraft; the introduction of hotter engines with higher by-pass ratios; the increased use of composite material in aircraft structures; and the confinement of highly-dissipative equipment and systems in smaller areas to gain extra space for passengers and cargo.

New advanced techniques to manage aircraft thermal behaviour at the very early stages of development are essential to take the right configuration decisions, while meeting market demands.

Why Cranfield?

Our involvement in the TOICA project is the result of our research activities in the earlier CRESCENDO (Collaborative and Robust Engineering using Simulation Capability Enabling Next Design Optimisation) and VIVACE projects.

Primarily through the development and extension of numerical design capabilities, our work culminated in the implementation of our own model-based design tool, AirCADia – Explorer.

In TOICA, we developed a novel tool for (airframe) systems synthesis called AirCADia – Architect. It is interactive and links seamlessly the functional and logical views of an evolving system’s architecture.