HIPOCRATES, a three year Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) research project worth over $3.7 million, that is designed to develop state-of-the-art self-repairing composite materials for the aerospace industry, has joined forces with Element Hitchin, who will serve as a materials testing partner in its three year FP7 research. Preliminary work has already started on the venture, which brings together some of Europe’s foremost companies and institutions in a consortium of materials testers, aerospace manufacturers and universities from France, Spain, the Netherlands and Greece.

The research has the potential to transform the aerospace industry, as it seeks to adapt resins already widely used by aeronautical manufacturers and operators, utilizing nano-technology to turn secondary structural composites into self-healing materials. Aircraft incorporating this technology would be more durable and have a longer service life, leading to significantly lower operational costs, according to Element.

Element’s role within the 11-strong consortium will be to design and develop impact, fracture and fatigue mechanical tests to assess the efficiency of the self-healing process.

Rick Sluiters, Element’s VP of Europe Operations, says, “This research will benefit all Element aerospace testing teams, as the knowledge gained and new test methodologies innovated will be shared across our global network of 1,400 Engaged Experts and 40 laboratories. Our Prime partners highly value Element’s ongoing role at the forefront of aerospace test development, recognizing that when they approach any of our laboratories worldwide, they receive a consistent service that taps into the expertise of our entire platform,” he concludes.

An announcement from Element indicates that the research will be concluded by November 2016: The pan-European endeavor is being part-funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme, which is contributing $2,774,148 to the project.