The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment

, Volume 24, Issue 12, pp 2091–2110 | Cite as

Integrating life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) in the early phases of aircraft structural design: an elevator case study

  • Elcin Aleixo CaladoEmail author
  • Marco Leite
  • Arlindo Silva



The main objective of this paper is to develop a model that will combine economic and environmental assessment tools to support the composite material selection of aircraft structures in the early phases of design and application of the tool for an aircraft elevator.


An integrated life cycle cost (LCC) and life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology was used as part of the sustainable design approach for the laminate stacking sequence design. The model considered is the aircraft structure made of carbon fiber reinforce plastic prepreg and processed via hand layup-autoclave process which is the preferred method for the aircraft industry. The model was applied to a cargo aircraft elevator case study by comparing six different laminate configurations and two different carbon fiber prepreg materials across aircraft’s entire life cycle.

Results and discussion

The results show, in line with other studies using different methodologies (e.g., life cycle engineering, or LCE), that the combination of LCA with LCC is a worthwhile approach for comparing the different laminate configurations in terms of cost and environmental impact to support composite laminate stacking design by providing the best trade-off between cost and environment. Elevator LCC reduces 19% by changing the material type and applying different ply orientations. Elevator LCA score reduces 53% by selecting the optimum instead of best technical solution that minimizes the displacement. Improving the structural performance does not always lead to an increase in the cost.


Aircraft structures Carbon fiber reinforce plastics (CFRPs) Integrated LCA/LCC Life cycle assessment (LCA) Life cycle cost (LCC) Prepreg hand layup 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions to this work by our colleagues at CEIIA Engineering and Innovation Centre.

Funding information

This work was supported by Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior, FCT, Portugal, under the MIT-Portugal Program [grant number SFRH/BD/51944/2012]. This work was also supported by FCT, through IDMEC, under LAETA, project UID/EMS/50022/2013.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IDMEC, Instituto Superior TécnicoUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Engineering Product Development PillarSingapore University of Technology and DesignSingaporeSingapore

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