Department of Mechanics, Structures and Materials - DMSM

The Department of Mechanics, Structures and Materials organizes and supervises all the teaching activities associated with mechanics of deformable solids for ISAE SUPAERO programs, in synergy with the fundamental and applied research on aeronautics materials and structures. This strong interaction between teaching and research is the cornerstone of the department’s organizational basis. Hence, the department aims to encourage students and associated researchers, in keeping with a rigorous creativity approach, to develop both the expertise and open-mindedness needed to drive innovation and excellence. It is based on teams of Professors, and engineers, technicians and administrative staff who anchor work within the Institut Clément Ader. Researchers also lead and develop crossdisciplinary research areas as part of ISAE-RECHERCHE, thus globally contributing to the emergence of new research lines and new developments.

The activities of the DMSM are backed by strong partnerships.

Diverse research and R&D projects allow ISAE-SUPAERO students and auditors to experience methods and a working environment which completes the engineering approach learned in courses. Projects include student research projects and the major ANR research projects (National Research Agency) as well as FUI projects (Cross ministerial funding) spanning development phases from the pre-project phase to realization of demonstrators.

Teaching missions

The teaching activities led by the Department of Mechanics of Structures and Materials covers scientific disciplines relating to the mechanics of solids, including the fundamental areas of general mechanics and continuum mechanics. Structures, and in particular thin structures, are the subject of developments in static analysis, vibratory dynamics, transitory and thermal dynamics, leading on the one hand to certification of aerospace structures, and on the other to the usage and qualification of metallic and composite structural materials within structural elements.

The expertise, teams and facilities of the DMSM Teaching Unit are available to the following programs: the solid mechanics of the French SUPAERO engineering program; the Mechanical Engineering Course Research Master’s program “Sciences for Mechanics of Materials and Structures” of the Université de Toulouse ; and the ISAE-SUPAERO Engineering Master of Science Programs: the Aerospace Engineering Master of Science’s program (Aerospace Structures Major, Aircraft and Helicopter Engineering) and the Advanced Masters programs including Aeronautics and Space Structures, Aeronautics and Space Techniques, and Advanced Manufacturing Processes for Aeronautical Structures.

The Professors of the DMSM organize and lead part-time teaching faculty and intervene in terms of teaching and supervision of different student projects: introduction to research, experimental work, final year projects, often carried out in synergy with the department’s doctoral theses. The DMSM coordinates over 150 part-time faculty from industry, academic and R&D organizations.

Scientific topics

With the Laboratoire de Génie Mécanique (Mechanical Engineering) of l’Université de Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, and the Centre de Recherche Outillages Matériaux et Procédés (Research Center on Equipment, Materials and Processes) of l’Ecole des Mines d’Albi, the DMSM of ISAE-SUPAERO is one of the three founding members of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering of Toulouse, that has become the Institut Clément Ader. The Institut Clément Ader is the Laboratory that leads research in an area covering Toulouse, Albi, and Tarbes in the field of Mechanics of Solids.(The Institut Clément Ader is a certified joint research unit (label EA814 of the DGES, UMR 5312) of the CNRS (French National Research Center for Science).

Research carried out at the DMSM aims to elaborate methods and tools for the design of aerospace structures to be used by engineers. To best answer the constantly changing needs of industry and research, this research focuses on three key topics which anchor the research activities within three groups at the Institut Clément Ader (ICA) and in two crossdisciplinary topics of ISAE-RECHERCHE in coherence with ISAE policy. This twofold role allows emerging topics to arise that open up new opportunities for collaboration and exchange with researchers outside of ISAE-RECHERCHE and the ICA.

Key scientific topics

Three research topics have anchored the activities of the DMSM in three of the four research groups of the Clément Ader Institute, and create a bridge with the “Modeling and Design” courses of the common core and of the three specializations of the Mechanical Engineering section of the 3rd year of the SUPAERO engineering program and with Master’s programs. The three topics are:

Durability & damage tolerance of composite and metallic materials

Research in this field aims to better understand damage of composite and metallic materials, under crash or impact loading conditions, or in thermomechanical fatigue and environmental effects.

Modelling & qualification of aerospace structures under static or dynamics loadings

Research focuses mainly on the development of models, methodologies and strategies of deterministic and uncertainty modelling of complex structures. Intrinsic or controlled damping is a key aspect of the research regarding dynamic stability. Assembly conditions of different materials or structural components under various loading cases are a second aspect of the research.

Multiphysics Requirements-Driven Simulation and Design

This research area focuses on the development of methods and strategies of modelling of structures and materials in order to verify performance, qualification and certification requirements. These activities also feed into two crossdisciplinary research areas of ISAE-RECHERCHE: Multidisciplinary Design and Optimization (MDO), and fluid-structures interaction (FSI).

ISAE-RECHERCHE cross-disciplinary themes

At ISAE-SUPAERO, the scientific topic, Multidisciplinary Analysis and Optimization (MDAO) is led by Professor Joseph Morlier of the DMSM as a cross-disciplinary topic combining multidisciplinary contributions from professors and researchers in ISAE SUPAERO departments including the DAEP, the DMSM, the DCAS and DISC, and researchers from ONERA. The MDO theme is the subject of in depth training course offered within the Computational Mechanics specialization of the Materials and Structures section.

The fluid-structure interactions topic is overseen by the DISC. The activities of the DMSM in this topic concern interactions of flexible structures (helicopter blades, flexible aerofoil, replacement materials for cryogenic tanks) and large sized inflatable structures (balloons, parachutes). Activities focus on the development of numerical models with industrial calculation codes used for virtual experimentation or in-house programs which make it possible to communicate a fluid code and a structure code. The practical aspects of the FSI theme are in line with issues addressed in the cross-disciplinary field, Design and Operation of Aircraft (COA)

Discover... the multidisciplinary test platform EMpEROR of ISAE-SUPAERO!

Discover the multidisciplinary test platform EMpEROR


Discover the multidisciplinary test platform EMpEROR ISAE-SUPAERO / SapienSapienS

2 March 2023

The EMpEROR platform was born on the one hand, from the increasing consideration of aeroelastic phenomena in modern aeronautics, and on the other hand, from the synergy between the Aerodynamics, Energetics, and Propulsion (DAEP) and Structural Mechanics and Materials (DMSM) departments.
This platform has been designed and thought out to allow great modularity of metrology, around a rotor bench allowing to rotate from 1 to 6 blades, up to 1 meter in diameter, from 0 to 3000 rpm, and this in complete safety thanks to a 6-meter-long protective cage. It is equipped with several sensors for performance measurements, but also with a rotating vibrometry system for measuring the dynamics of the blades (this system is only used by two laboratories in Europe). The bench also makes it possible to embed measurement systems in the blades, but also in the coming months, systems to control these unstable phenomena.
Since 2020, this platform has also enabled two thesis students to work on aeroelastic phenomena, as well as 6 Master’s students. This platform also makes it possible to generate experimental databases used by ISAE-SUPAERO researchers to compare and validate their computer codes.
The equipment will increase in power in 2024 with the addition of the possibility of making Laser measurements, of the PIV or/and LDV type, as well as the possibility of manufacturing more complex blades with the hand on the flexibility of these.

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