Image of QUALIFY logo


Key Information:

  • EU funding: €2,268,946
  • Total budget: €3,781,577
  • Duration: 13/07/2017 – 31/07/2020


The challenge:

There are currently no certification guidelines within the maritime sector for adhesively bonded metal to composite joints.  This limits such connections to secondary structures, reducing the opportunities to use composite materials to save weight and reduce structural maintenance.  In QUALIFY, a multi-scale testing plan will be implemented by a consortium of 11 partners, to provide reliable insights into the long-term performance of hybrid joints operating in demanding marine environments.  This will ultimately enable the increased use of adhesively bonded hybrid structures through guidelines written by the maritime classification societies.


Project objectives:

The project will pursue the following three main objectives:
  1. Evaluate the long term structural performance of the adhesively bonded hybrid joint under representative operational and environmental conditions;
  2. Develop a reliable inspection and maintenance methodology for adhesively bonded hybrid joints;
  3. Develop a procedure (Guidelines) for the qualification of adhesively bonded hybrid joints in primary structures in marine applications.


Role of BAE Systems:

  • Provide expertise in composite marine structures to the other project partners, using our experience as a designer and builder of ships.
  • Facilitate the extension of the work scope from laboratory scale to that of a representative structural element, through manufacture of composite and hybrid test components.


Project partners:

  • Technische Universiteit Delft
  • University of Cambridge
  • Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding
  • Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore SAS
  • Universiteit Gent
  • Com&Sens
  • Parkwind
  • Lloyd’s Register EMEA
  • Stichting Kenniscentrum Windturbine Materialen en Constructies
  • BAE Systems Naval Ships


Project observers partners:

  • Onderzoekscentrum voor de aanwending van staal N.V.
  • Defensie Materieel Organisatie
  • Vereniging Industrieel Oppervlaktebehandelend Nederland (ION)
  • Netherlands Maritime Association
  • Bond voor Materialenkennis, sectie Hechting
  • Polymer Maritime Development
  • Bodo Möller Chemie Benelux NV
  • SE Blades technology B.V.
  • Flanders’ Maritime Cluster
  • Allseas Engineering BV
  • SikaAxson
  • Center of Maritime Technologies e.V.
  • Dassault Systèmes B.V. 
  • AEL Airborne 
  • BNS Industrial BV - officieel distributeur van SCIGRIP


Expected outputs:

The following outputs will be delivered by the project:
  1. Tests to assess the sensitivity to the environment of the adhesive material properties and the structural performance of the joint – at different scales;
  2. Tailored equipment to evaluate the performance of the hybrid joint under combined loading and environmental conditions;
  3. Accelerated tests type 1 = Rapid determination of basic fatigue properties for design purposes – at different scales;
  4. Accelerated tests type 2 = Testing of corrosion assisted fatigue to evaluate components in a representative environment and at different scales.
  5. Monitoring and inspection protocol;
  6. Structural health and condition monitoring tests;
  7. Guidelines for the qualification of adhesively bonded hybrid structures in primary structures for marine applications.

Image of OPV vessel for QUALIFY


Enabling Qualification of Hybrid Structures for Lightweight and Safe Maritime Transport
QUALIFY website