NEXT GENERATION EU
KEY ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES
02/11/2023

NABUCCO: revolutionary wings for sustainable aviation

Chiara Bisagni awarded ERC advanced grant

Aircraft capable of changing their shape during different flight conditions, addressing two of the most important challenges for the future of sustainable aviation: weight reduction and increased efficiency. These are the challenges of the NABUCCO research project by Professor Chiara Bisagni of the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology at Politecnico di Milano.

NABUCCO develops radically new concepts of adaptive composite structures, ie those capable of changing their shape, by exploiting the phenomenon of structural instability, to be applied to next-generation aircraft. In aeronautics, structural buckling is generally avoided as it can instantly generate large deformations and even cause a catastrophic collapse.

Conversely, NABUCCO no longer sees structural instability as a phenomenon to be avoided, but as a design opportunity to be explored for its revolutionary potential. The idea is to use the disadvantages of instability in a positive way to conceive, design and build composite structures – and in particular adaptive wings. Professor Chiara Bisagni will develop new design, analysis and optimisation methods based on analytical formulations, neural network algorithms and an integrated, multidisciplinary design approach.

Professor Bisagni was awarded the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for her NABUCCO project. These European funds enable internationally established researchers to conduct innovative, high-risk research projects by obtaining funding of up to 2.5 million euros for a duration of five years.

The Grant allowed Chiara Bisagni to return to Italy after more than 10 years abroad: first at the University of California San Diego in the United States and then at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Bisagni is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), an Executive Council Member of the International Committee on Composite Materials (ICCM) and a Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy.

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