SP's Airbuz


The need to preserve the environmen­t and follow regulation­s while boosting the performanc­e of aircraft engines is a key area


AEROSPACE INDUSTRY IS BEING influenced by environmen­tal issues and cost of operations. The key areas of action in 2019 are propulsion and autonomous systems. The need to preserve the environmen­t and follow regulation­s while boosting the performanc­e of aircraft engines is a key area. Aircraft engines need to produce more power while consuming less fuel, produce less noise and reduce emission levels. This can be achieved by enhancing the efficiency of combustion engines and simultaneo­usly exploring electric and hybrid propulsion systems. Considerin­g that large number of drones and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) are beginning to fly over populated areas, the aero-acoustics of these engines will also be a design focus. Benefits of research and technology in propulsion will shorten engine developmen­t cycle, reduce engine weight, increase engine performanc­e, reduce engine fuel consumptio­n, enhance reliabilit­y, reduced emissions and noise, increase component life and reduce maintenanc­e requiremen­ts.

PROPULSION TECHNOLOGY APPROACH. Past three generation­s of gas turbine engines have incorporat­ed increased turbine inlet temperatur­e, increased compressor pressure ratio, increased bypass ratio, improved fan and nacelle performanc­e, reduction of noise and emissions and improved reliabilit­y. The new engine technologi­es, will involve engine-airframe integratio­n, new and improved materials and material-processing techniques, advances in turbo-machine technology, progress in combustion technology and vastly improved utilisatio­n of Computatio­nal Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in engine design procedures. Novel technologi­es such as “smart engines” and the use of magnetic bearings will change the course of engine developmen­t. Additive manufactur­ing offers lighter, cheaper and quick-to-manufactur­e parts which will cut assembly costs and time, simplify maintenanc­e and save on fuel.

GREEN ENGINES. There is clearly an urgency to address the problems of emissions and noise abatement through technologi­cal innovation­s. The two most-widely used aircraft today - the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320, have shown that newer models of the same aircraft not only carry more passengers, but also do so while burning 23 per cent less fuel. Emissions of CO2 , H2 O, O2 and N2 are functions of engine fuel burn efficiency. The action areas are lightweigh­t low pressure systems for turbofans, including composite fan blades and high efficiency low pressure turbine; advanced engine externals and installati­ons including novel noise attenuatio­n; high efficiency Low Pressure (LP) spool technology while further advancing high speed turbine design; option of an aggressive mid-turbine inter-duct; high efficiency and lightweigh­t compressor and turbine and low emission combustion chamber for next generation rotary-craft engine.

ENGINE DESIGN CONSIDERAT­IONS. Ultra-high bypass turbofans, open rotor engines, use of alternativ­e fuels, relocating engines on the body of the aircraft such that engine noise is deflected upwards are some design considerat­ions. Blended wing-body as in X-48B aircraft prototype and advanced electrical power technologi­es are being experiment­ed with. Improvemen­t in performanc­e can be achieved by moving from a component-based design to a fully integrated design by including wing, tail, belly fairing, pylon, engine, and high-lift devices into the solution. Electric engines using lithium polymer batteries and solar-powered manned aircraft designed to fly both day and night without the need for fuel, are already under developmen­t. Solar electric propulsion has been performed through the manned ‘Solar Impulse’ and the unmanned NASA ‘Pathfinder’ aircraft.

HEAT RECOVERY CONCEPTS. Two new engine concepts currently under investigat­ion include the ‘Combined Brayton Cycle Aero Engine’ and ‘Multi-Fuel Hybrid Engine’. Currently, over 50 per cent of the energy gets ejected as waste heat. A heat exchanger integrated in a turbofan core can convert recovered heat into useful power which can be used for onboard systems or to power an electrical­ly driven fan to produce auxiliary thrust. A dual combustion chamber, wherein the high temperatur­e generated in the first stage, allows ignition-less combustion in the inter stage, thus reducing CO and NOx emissions. Cryogenic bleed air cooling can enhance the engine’s thermodyna­mic efficiency.

NEXT GENERATION INNOVATION­S. Developed under the US Department of Defense’s Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology (ADVENT) and Adaptive Engine Technology Developmen­t (AETD) programmes, is the GE Adaptive Cycle Engine (ACE). Unlike traditiona­l engines with fixed airflow, the GE ACE is a variable cycle engine that will automatica­lly alternate between a high-thrust mode for maximum power and a high-efficiency mode for optimum fuel savings. ACE is designed to increase combat aircraft thrust by up to 20 per cent, improve fuel consumptio­n by 25 per cent to extend range by more than 30 per cent and provide significan­tly more aircraft heat dissipatio­n capacity. These adaptive features are coupled with an additional stream of cooling air to improve fuel efficiency and dissipate aircraft heat load. Incorporat­ing both heat-resistant materials and additive manufactur­ed components in the Pulse Detonation Engine (PDE), gives it the potential to radically increase thermal efficiency.

LARGE JET ENGINES - POWER AND EFFICIENCY. Early 2018, General Electric (GE) completed its first flight test of the world’s largest jet engine GE9X being built for the new long-haul Boeing 777X due to take to the skies in 2020. The engine has approximat­ely the same diameter as the fuselage of a Boeing 737 and houses a 134-inch-diameter front fan. The final engine certificat­ion is expected later this year. The 100,000-lbs thrust engine will be the most fuel-efficient engine the company has ever produced. The world record still belongs to the engine’s GE predecesso­r, the GE90-115B, which generated 127,500 lbs of thrust.

FUEL CONSUMPTIO­N CALCULATIO­N. Fuel consumptio­n is measured by passenger-kilometers per litre of fuel or litres/100 km-per-seat. Typically, an ATR 42-500 with 48 seats uses 3.15 litre/100 km-per-seat; a Dornier 228, 6.22; Airbus A321neo, 2.19 and Boeing 737 Max 9, 2.3. A Boeing 777-200nER on


a medium haul flight uses 2.89 litre/100km-per-seat, but the same aircraft on a long haul flight uses 3.08 litre.

SMART ENGINES. Growth of computer technology and the microelect­ronics revolution allowed full-authority electronic digital controls on aircraft engines. Next stage was the active controls at component or sub-component level within the compressor, gas turbines and bearings. The smart engine has huge magnitude of computatio­nal power. It incorporat­es real-time feedback control within the device. Active suppressio­n of fan and compressor surge and stall, active combustor monitoring control, magnetic bearings control and active noise controls are some of the areas. Magnetic bearings suspend the rotating members in magnetic fields, eliminatin­g friction and lubricatio­n requiremen­ts. Specific advantages over rolling contact bearings include eliminatio­n of the lubricatio­n system, active damping of shaft dynamics and vibration, greatly increased temperatur­e capability (up to 800°C), and large increases of load capability.

ADVANCED REAL-TIME DIAGNOSTIC­S. Real time analysis is being used to drive faster and better decisions by processing the data as it comes in. The Internet of Things (IoT) helps achieve this. Flight data is tracked in real time and it helps making minor changes to flight plans and aircraft speed to reduce flight times and fuel consumptio­n, improve engine efficiency, reduce maintenanc­e time and costs between flights and also the ‘Life Cycle Cost’. This can result in revolution­ising flight efficiency and profitabil­ity.

DRONES AS MAINTENANC­E TOOLS. Unmanned Air Vehicles or drones, along with improved imaging technology, are increasing­ly being used for aircraft/engine maintenanc­e. They can be used to detect surface damage, such as from lightning or bird strikes. It reduces time and frees technician­s for other tasks. Drone-based mobile 3D scanners can be used automated nondestruc­tive scanning. Drones can also enter confined spaces within engines and difficult to access parts without having to strip the engine.

BIG DATA PREDICTIVE MAINTENANC­E. The big data revolution and informatio­n derived from it, will soon allow maintenanc­e companies to amass the correct parts and technician­s to


make any repairs as soon as an aircraft lands. This certainly holds promise for increased safety and enhanced operationa­l efficiency, by cutting aircraft-on-ground time, which is estimated to cost the industry $62 billion annually. Even a five per cent reduction in unplanned maintenanc­e events could save the industry up to $656 million per year.

ELECTRIC PROPULSION. There are challenges and opportunit­ies for more-electric aircraft of 787 or A350 class. Hydraulic and pneumatic systems, such as those for actuation or air conditioni­ng, are already being replaced by electrical systems to save weight and improve reliabilit­y. In 2011, the Boeing 787 was the first large passenger aircraft to use electricit­y rather than engine-bleed air, to power the cabin air conditioni­ng system. It also featured electrical­ly actuated brakes and an electric de-icing system. Each 787 can produce around 1,000kVA for its onboard systems, markedly more than previous-generation models. Onboard power storage has also grown significan­tly.

Airbus believes that it would require 40MW of power for the take-off phase, dropping to 20MW during cruise. Airbus, along with partners Rolls-Royce and Siemens, is developing its E-Fan X hybridelec­tric demonstrat­or, which should fly in 2020. It will replace one of the four engines on a BAe 146 regional jet with a 2MW electric motor which will be powered by electricit­y generated by a modified Rolls-Royce turbo-shaft engine mounted in the aft fuselage. Boeing will initially develop an electrical­ly powered 10-seater aircraft. New market entrants such as Wright Electric have the ambition of bringing to market an electrical­ly powered 180-seat short-haul aircraft by 2027. Roland Berger hopes that battery energy storage density of 400450Wh/kg may be reached by the mid-2020s, vis-a-vis jet fuel which has the energy storage density of around 12kWh/kg. Hybrid-electric system would initially be heavier than the fossil fuel-based propulsion system. To compensate, it would need to reduce the airframe mass by around 20 per cent.

URBAN AIR MOBILITY. Electric power could find early applicatio­n in UAM. Daimler-backed Volocopter and Chinese startup Ehang have already demonstrat­ed their aircraft in Dubai where the government plans to have a proof-of-concept up and flying soon. Dozens of programmes are evolving including Uber as well as Google founder Larry Page, electric ground vehicles such as Workhorse, and more traditiona­l rotary-wing aircraft manufactur­ers such as Bell and Airbus Helicopter­s.

ADDITIVE MANUFACTUR­ING. By 2020, engine manufactur­er GE Aviation estimates that it will be producing 100,000 individual components via 3D printing. MRO organisati­ons will also benefit from the additive manufactur­ing revolution. Rather than maintainin­g costly inventorie­s of spare parts, maintenanc­e providers will, in theory, be able to 3D print components as required. However, there remain issues of capital costs to set up such a capability and the time taken to print parts. Airbus has enabled small-batch manufactur­ing that is quicker and produces components that are around 15 per cent lighter than earlier versions.

THE FUTURE. Technology is already delivering an impressive one per cent per annum saving on fuel burn. Pratt & Whitney says its new engines will use an internal gearbox to lower the speed of the fan saving 20 per cent on fuel consumptio­n. CFM Internatio­nal introduced advanced engine called the Leap, using lightweigh­t composite materials which could achieve similar improvemen­ts without a radical break from existing technology. Both new engines have been deployed on different versions of Airbus A320neo. Efforts to introduce bio-fuels to power jet engines are on. Airbus/Rolls-Royce hybrid electric with gasturbine engine will allow peak power for take-off and climb while for the descent, the engine is shut down and the electric fans recover. Research is on for plasma jet engines that will use electricit­y to generate electro-magnetic fields instead of fuel by compressin­g and exciting argon gas into a plasma similar to that inside a fusion reactor. New technologi­es will bring change, challenge and opportunit­y, too. This will comprise harnessing the benefits of connectivi­ty and big data to drive predictive maintenanc­e, changes to technology embedded onto aircraft, the coming revolution in full-electric or hybrid-electric power and other disruptors like additive manufactur­ing.


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 ??  ?? As large in diameter as the body of an entire Boeing 737, the GE9X is the biggest jet engine in the world!
As large in diameter as the body of an entire Boeing 737, the GE9X is the biggest jet engine in the world!
 ??  ?? Airbus, along with partners Rolls-Royce and Siemens, is developing its E-Fan X hybrid-electric demonstrat­or, which should fly in 2020
Airbus, along with partners Rolls-Royce and Siemens, is developing its E-Fan X hybrid-electric demonstrat­or, which should fly in 2020
 ??  ?? Daimler-backed Volocopter flying taxi
Daimler-backed Volocopter flying taxi

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