Airbus Strong Wall & Floor
Airbus Operations Ltd
Tercon - Concrete contractor
Allerton Steel - Steel fabricator
Macalloy - Anchors supplier
Curtins - Temporary works designer
AHR - Delivery architect
Cemex - Concrete supplier
Images: © BuroHappold
This structure is designed to high tolerance and specification in order to test and validate commercial wing designs.
The modular reaction wall is secured by a matrix of high capacity floor anchors positioned to near millimetre accuracy. The design is developed to resist 25 years of intensive life-cycle testing.
Imagine a floor nearly the area of three tennis courts, with precision-located fixing points on a 1m grid all over. Then imagine a steel wall the size of half a tennis court up-ended, that can be bolted down to the floor, and you begin to understand the scale of this project. The wall can be positioned in different places on the floor, and a test aircraft wing can be fixed to the wall, allowing it to be fatigue tested.
The engineers exceeded the client’s expectations by devising a modular wall design such that two tests could be carried out simultaneously, doubling capacity for the same capital outlay. They also managed to reduce steel tonnage by some 20% in the design.
Through a rewarding and collaborative process with the client and wider team, the engineers delivered a truly flexible structural solution for Airbus - designed and constructed to an accuracy far exceeding regular tolerances.
Subjected to an extreme loading regime over the next 25 years, the structure will play a key role in developing increasingly safe and sustainable wing designs into the future.