Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

Thermoplastic scroll — Result In Brief

Project ID: 632445
Funded under: FP7-JTI
Country: Netherlands

Cheaper aircraft compressors from plastic

The manufacturing cost of high precision aircraft compressor parts is the dominating factor in determining overall production costs. Using plastics can reduce costs.
Cheaper aircraft compressors from plastic
The THERMOPLASTIC SCROLL (Manufacturing and optimization of a PEEK scroll by fusible core injection moulding) project was initiated to design, build and test an inlet scroll using thermoplastic, without jeopardising the functionality of the scroll. The aim was to reduce the component weight by 50 %, manufacturing cost by 30 % and lead-time by 50 %. Moreover, this scroll needs to function well in high ambient temperatures and a high mechanical fatigue environment.

This programme has demonstrated that it is possible to reliably produce an inlet scroll for a single aisle aircraft. The exploitation of polyether ether ketone (Peek) carbon reinforced fibres using a fusible core technology with injection moulding for this purpose is unprecedented. Furthermore, fusible core technology allows for further integration. A two-part product was successfully converted into a one-piece product.

By moving away from aluminium towards Peek material, a 48 % weight saving has been achieved. Based on a typical single aisle aircraft with 150 seats (such as an Airbus 320 or Boeing 737), significant savings in fuel consumption were seen. There is also a reduction of 174 grams of carbon dioxide emission per flight.

The expected recurring price will be 30 % less compared to the aluminium version. The savings will be even higher when the reduction in assembly work is calculated. The breakeven point for the non-recurring cost, including the manufacturing of the tooling, is to be expected at 250 units. This will mean that a return on investment will be achieved in six months of operation.

Further improvements are foreseen. The heat management in the mould can be improved and the sharp corners in the fusible core can be modified.

The programme results will have a significant impact on the air management systems of single aisle aeroplanes. The eco-friendly inlet scroll of the air management system should enhance the competitiveness of the European aviation industry.

Related information

Keywords

Aircraft compressor, inlet scroll, thermoplastic, Peek, , fusible core technology, injection moulding, C02 emission
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