SUSTAINair Team Member Wins TÜV Austria Science Prize

Congratulations, Thomas Bergmayr! In a recent triumph for the SUSTAINair team at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Thomas secured a significant achievement by ranking amongst the winners of the prestigious TÜV AUSTRIA Group Wissenschaftspreis 2023, for a paper focusing on groundbreaking material research, and drafted within the framework of SUSTAINair. This remarkable accomplishment reflects not only individual brilliance but also the collective dedication of the JKU team towards cutting-edge research in aviation and technology.

Thomas’s groundbreaking work on SUSTAINair, encapsulated in his doctoral thesis, caught the attention of the TÜV AUSTRIA Wissenschaftspreis panel. Out of 114 applications, his project emerged as one of the top three winners in the highly competitive field of nine natural science and technology projects. The award was presented at a Gala evening held on 27th November at the Kuppelsaal of TU Wien in Vienna, and broadcast online via livestream.

The Winning Paper


Thomas’s winning paper, titled “A framework for physics-driven generation of feature data for strain-based damage detection in aerospace sandwich structures,” delves into the realm of structural health monitoring (SHM) in aerospace applications – a key tool for keeping aircraft components running safely for longer and minimising waste. The paper addresses the challenges of acquiring large amounts of realistic data for machine learning algorithms. His innovative approach involves a computationally inexpensive framework for physics-driven feature generation of strain data, leveraging sub-structuring and the concept of reanalysis.

Revisit the original SUSTAINair blog on this paper here.

The methodology included a subdivision of the global finite element model into a monitored submodel, extracting the stiffness matrix, and employing static condensation to reduce computational effort. The paper demonstrates how this framework generates physics-driven determined strain solutions and facilitates the training of machine learning algorithms for SHM more efficiently than pre-existing methods. The presented numerical and experimental results readily showcase the high potential of this approach for damage detection in composite sandwich structures, pointing the way forward for vital technology.

An aircraft wireframe © Shutterstock
A Wireframe of an Aircraft
Damage Detection Aerospace Sandwich Structures © Shutterstock
Damage Detection Aerospace Sandwich Structures

Alongside SUSTAINair

 Thomas’s achievement is deeply intertwined with the objectives of the EU-funded SUSTAINair project. This initiative aligns with the EU’s goal of advancing the design, production, and operation of multifunctional and intelligent airframe and engine parts. SUSTAINair aims to overcome key obstacles in the aircraft component value chain by developing novel concepts and techniques for design, manufacturing, maintenance, repair, overhaul, and recycling processes. Thomas’s work contributes significantly to the project’s mission and underscores the importance of collaborative research and innovation.

Impact on Aviation and Environmental Sustainability

Beyond the accolades, this research holds immense promise for the aviation industry. By advancing techniques and technologies – such as structural health monitoring – the SUSTAINair project is aiming to usher in a new era of efficiency, safety, and environmental consciousness. The innovative approach to damage detection in composite sandwich structures not only enhances the overall safety of aerospace components but also contributes to the industry’s efforts towards circularity and environmental sustainability.

The SUSTAINair project, with its multifunctional and intelligent airframe and engine parts, aims to revolutionize the entire aircraft component value chain. As we celebrate Thomas’s success, we also anticipate the far-reaching impact research such as his will have on aviation, ushering in a future where technological advancements align seamlessly with environmental responsibility. As we navigate towards a more sustainable aviation landscape, work such as this is steering us towards safer, more efficient, and eco-friendly skies.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101006952