Certification for Design: Reshaping the Testing Pyramid

About CerTest

The research project ‘CerTest – Certification for Design: Reshaping the Testing Pyramid’ is a so-called Programme Grant funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

CerTest (Grant EP/S017038/1 – https://gow.epsrc.ukri.org/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/S017038/1) has been granted £6.9M by EPSRC, and will run for a period of five years; 2019-2024. The academic partners defining CerTest are the University of Bristol, University of Bath, University of Exeter and University of Southampton. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with industrial partners Airbus, Rolls Royce, GKN Aerospace, BAE Systems, CFMS, the National Composites Centre (NCC), the Alan Turing Institute, and CerTest will further work closely together with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The overarching aim of CerTest is to develop the scientific foundation that enables lighter, safer and more cost efficient composite aerostructures. The research will result in a new approach for integrated high-fidelity structural testing and multi-scale statistical modelling through Design of Experiments (DoE) and Bayesian Learning.  The efficient exploitation and optimisation of advanced composite aero-structures is fundamentally prohibited by current test, simulation and certification approaches, and CerTest seeks to break this impasse by holistically addressing the challenges that are preventing step-changes in future engineering design by reshaping the ‘Testing Pyramid’.

Diagram of testing pyramid


CerTest will reduce empiricism and enable a new integrated approach to design and validation at hitherto unattainable levels of fidelity and design freedom allowing the development of more efficient and sustainable composite aerostructures. In doing so, CerTest will provide a route for lessening regulatory constraints, moving towards a more cost/performance optimised philosophy, by reducing the multiple coupon level tests at the bottom of the test pyramid. Instead structural behaviour will be accounted for in a new culture of virtual design and certification focusing on the higher levels of the testing pyramid. This will promote a change towards Virtual Testing, enabling reduction of empiricism, significant mass savings, expansion of the design and performance envelopes, and reduction of design costs and associated development time.

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