The University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) has received a ceiling contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to support research in advanced structures technologies for aerospace vehicles.

The $44m seven-year contract for the structures engineering research programme covers resources ranging from aeroplanes to unmanned vehicles.

UDRI will receive an initial award of $5.7m for the first three tasks under the programme for research in multi-disciplinary aerospace system technologies, software engineering and structural life extension.

In addition, the institute will support research in structural response prediction, life forecasting, structural integrity, modelling and design, as well as adaptive, hybrid, multifunctional and thermal structures.

“We will have the opportunity to work with next-generation structures and vehicles, such as those that use advanced composite and multifunctional materials.”

UDRI applied mechanics division deputy programme manager and senior research engineer Matt Davies said: “Part of what we do is look at how to extend the life of existing structures, but without sacrificing reliability or safety. With this new contract, we will have the opportunity to work with next-generation structures and vehicles, such as those that use advanced composite and multifunctional materials.”

The contract will be managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Aerospace Vehicles Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, US.

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AFRL focuses on the discovery, development, and integration of army technologies for the USAF’s air, space and cyberspace forces.

According to Davies, the structures group has experience in analysing, testing, modelling and developing aerospace structures.

The group has recently conducted research into structural design concepts, particularly for thermal and adaptive structures.