Airbus A340-600 placed under permanent stress

Aircraft, from the Tornado to the Airbus and among these the Airbus types 300, 310, 320, 330 und 340, have been tested under the lead management of IABG since the 1960s.

Currently the Airbus A340-600 is being subjected to comprehensive material load tests. The aim of these long-term tests is to verify sufficient fatigue life of the airframe experimentally and to reveal possibly still existing weak points. Thereby in a time accelerated test of 18 months, a whole aircraft life of 25 to 30 years is simulated.

As Mr. Woithe of IABG Dresden emphasised, such dynamic long-term test remain indispensable as even modern computer models such as the Finite Element Method cannot simulate precisely enough the effects actually occurring in reality.

The current test is being performed by IABG at IMA Materialforschung und Anwendungstechnik GmbH in Dresden. A special role is played in the dynamic test for material fatigue by the hydraulics in the load simulation. For this, Hänchen hydraulic cylinders are used.

The cylinders with a throughput of 4 400 liters of hydraulic oil per minute are supplied via a pipework system. The hydraulic cylinders are controlled by proportional valves. Predominantly used are test machine cylinders with a floating annular seal, a Hänchen patent, as these retain their friction values irrespective of the pressure. Similarly cylinders with hydro-static piston rod bearing guidance are used. These are marked by low friction and high positioning and repetition precision, are stick-slip-free and are suitable for very slow and very fast motions.