Professors standing together with Peter Linde
​Professor Ragnar Larsson, Professor Leif Asp (both from the Division of Material and Computational Mechanics in the Department of Industrial and Materials Science, Chalmers), Adjunct Professor Peter Linde and Professor Anders Forsgren, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, one of Linde’s fellow students from his time at Stanford, USA.  Photo: Carina Schultz

Airbus collaboration on multifunctional materials

Chalmers has received a substantial boost in the field of multifunctional materials and technologies focusing on the aviation industry. Dr. Peter Linde, Research Engineer at Airbus, one of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers, has taken up the position of Adjunct Professor in the Department of Industrial and Materials Science. A collaboration that started with a long walk to a remote hotel in Toulouse in 2008.

Portrait Peter Linde
During their long walk to the hotel, Peter Linde and Leif Asp, Professor of Lightweight Composite Materials and Structures, realised that they shared many questions regarding research into lightweight materials. After nearly 10 years of working together on a number of projects, Asp’s wish for more in-depth collaboration with Airbus has now been realised as Linde took up the part-time (20%) position of Adjunct Professor at Chalmers in September. He is based in the Division of Material and Computational Mechanics.  

At Airbus Operations GmbH in Hamburg Linde is currently working as an Airframe Architecture and Integration Research Engineer. His long experience of research into materials and composites has made him particularly familiar with the many challenges of this field within the Airbus group – which will be a major asset for Chalmers.

Picture above: Peter Linde, who has recently taken up the position of Adjunct Professor in the Department of Industrial and Materials Science. His impressive CV includes studies at ETH Zurich, Stanford, the University of California, Los Angeles (focusing on industrial collaboration in aviation), and the University of California, Berkeley (pioneers in finite element methods). 

World-leading research into structural batteries 

The agreement has taken time to prepare because the professorship must be relevant to Chalmers while also adding value to Airbus. Linde says that one absolutely crucial reason for the collaboration is the cutting-edge research being conducted by Leif Asp’s research team together with colleagues at KTH Royal Institute of Technology within the field of multifunctional composites for energy storage.

“Yes, it’s true that we’re world-leading in the area of structural batteries​. In preparation for the agreement, Airbus conducted a Technology Watch in which the potential in our research was identified. It chimes with one of Airbus’ own strategic research fields: integrated energy storage. Airbus saw the potential and has therefore chosen to enter into an agreement with us,” Asp says.

Request for broader collaboration with Chalmers

Now that this agreement has been secured, Leif Asp hopes that Chalmers will gain a much broader interface with Airbus. Asp believes that there will be more joint projects on composites in future, but he would also like to see the research collaboration broadened. There are many research fields at Chalmers that are of interest to Airbus. 

“One of Peter Linde’s key talents is his ability to see possible collaborations and create networks that drive innovation in industry. In short, he is skilled at technology, politics and making things happen,” Asp explains.

Environmentally Friendly Aircraft  E-Fan-X

The title of his installation lecture was “Emerging Materials and Technologies for Multifunctional Application in Environmentally Friendly Aircraft”. E-Fan-X (depicted) is the second-generation of research aircraft within the Airbus group in which electric propulsion is being tested. E-Fan-X is a modified BAE 146 with four engines, one of which is electric. The energy for the propulsion is a hybrid-based system with a gas turbine and battery. Its maiden flight is planned for 2019. Its predecessor, the E-Fan, was a two-seater with two electric engines and energy storage in batteries. Its maiden flight took place in 2014. Photo: Airbus

Lighter planes achieve environmental gains

Peter Linde devotes most of his time to his work as Topic Manager of the EU project SORCERER, in which Chalmers is one of four partners.

“The project aims to develop a lightweight composite with intrinsic electrical energy storage capability, intended for future electric and hybrid-electric aircraft. The background to the project is the need for more environmentally friendly lightweight aircraft, of which the weight can be reduced by integrating batteries in structures, cabins and systems.

“Via Airbus’ involvement in the Clean Sky​ project, I will also gain the opportunity to meet new collaboration partners for Chalmers and Airbus,” says Linde, who hopes that he will have time for this on the 3–4 occasions per year that he will be on site in Gothenburg.

Degree projects focusing on thin layers
Other interesting and closely related research fields mentioned by Linde are graphene and additive manufacturing for weight reduction and multifunctionality for components. Initially, however, he wants to dig deeper into the field of composites made of thin layers. Linde continues, 
“Together with Leif Asp and Martin Fagerström, I will prepare a number of degree projects. We have also started to supervise a doctoral student together, and we might lecture for the Master’s students in the latter part of their programmes.”

​Always a student

When the news of the professorship was made public, many people in Peter Linde’s extensive contact network got in touch. One person who has already congratulated him is Professor Stephen W. Tsai at Stanford, a living legend in the field of composite materials, with whom Linde has had an innovative exchange in recent years.

“I have also heard from my old Professor Hugo Bachmann​ at ETH Zurich, who congratulated me on gaining such a fine position at such a reputable seat of learning,” Linde laughs and continues, 

“This feels great! Above all as Adjunct Professor, I will be able to devote myself to my major interests: building networks and satisfying my curiosity. I regard myself as always being a student,” Linde concludes.

Peter Linde lecturing

In his installation lecture, Dr. Peter Linde provided a short recap of Airbus’ history and technological successes. One example was the sales success of the Airbus A320, which vastly surpassed its sales target of around 300 planes and reached a total of 8,000. To conclude, he presented his thoughts on the future development of new materials, such as multifunctional composites for energy storage. Photo: Carina Schultz

Page manager Published: Fri 16 Nov 2018.