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LCA is a Structured Internationally Standardised Methodological Framework Used for Estimating and Assessing Environmental Impacts Attributed to the Lifecycle of a Product or Service

LCA is a Structured Internationally Standardised Methodological Framework Used for Estimating and Assessing Environmental Impacts Attributed to the Lifecycle of a Product or Service

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Published by Mohammad Inam Lone

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Published by: Mohammad Inam Lone on Jan 06, 2014
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01/06/2014

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A cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment (LCA) of structural aircraft materials has been utilised to assess and com

- pare the total emissions produced during manufacturing, use and disposal of aerospace materials and their selected components. First, a comparison of aluminium, GLARE and carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) plates was performed to investigate the potential of lightweight composites in reducing aviation emissions. Subsequently, a case study is presented on a tubular component for which more accurate manufacturing data were directly available. A structural steel tube was replaced with a composite tubular component. The analysis has shown that once the composite material is used as a component in the aircraft, there is a cumulative saving of aircraft fuel and emissions, in particular from CFRP structures. The environmental analysis included the longterm use predictions for CFRPs, involving detailed raw materials production, use and operation, and disposal scenarios. A life cycle assessment (LCA), as prescribed by the ISO 14040/14044 (European Committee for Standardization, 2006a,b), is used to assess the environmental impact of each of the service life phases of a passenger aircraft; manufacture, operation and decommissioning to determine the impact of each phase and to examine their overall contribution to the aircraft life cycle. Operation is expected to be the major contributor of emissions, however this study aims to determine the significance of the other life phases, particularly that of production and disposal. Among the several subassemblies, a number of special materials are used at different proportions and to establish the areas and materials that have the highest environmental impact. A noticeable factor proving to be a hurdle in CFRP’s use in aircrafts is its impact on the environment. Studies have shown that CFRP acquires vast amount of energy for its manufacture compared to traditional materials (metal alloys). Therefore, a cradle-to grave life cycle assessment (LCA) has been used to evaluate and compare the energy required and the emissions produced during the life span of a CFRP component used in aircrafts.

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