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Design and manufacture of a flight worthy intake system (scoop/NACA divergent intake) SCOOP AND NACA DIVERGENT INTAKE TRIAL (SANDIT)

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Cutting-edge intakes for more efficient aircraft systems

Aircraft design revolves around the application of composite materials to reduce weight, performance and efficiency. However, the reliance of architectures on engine bleed air for systems such as the environmental control system (ECS) is a barrier because it impacts engine efficiency.

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The EU-funded SANDIT (Design and manufacture of a flight worthy intake system (scoop/NACA divergent intake) SCOOP and NACA divergent intake trial (SANDIT)) project designed and manufactured a composite ECS intake that is able to support flight trial demonstrations. It built on the SIPAL project, which designed and manufactured a small scoop air intake for an aircraft ECS with electrothermal ice protection and acoustic attenuation technology. Work began with the study of suitable materials and processes for scoop intake manufacture, and evaluation of mould tooling technology ahead of intake production. Project partners used aircraft icing design software tools and previous icing wind tunnel testing results to identify the number, location and intensity of ice-protection heating zones necessary for providing efficient scoop intake anti-ice protection. They carried out thermal modelling to determine the maximum structural temperatures. The SANDIT team further developed and tested ‘sprayed’ erosion shield technology. The selection made for the scoop erosion protection was an electroformed nickel pre-formed component that is suitable for complex components where a high degree of shape accuracy is required. They also developed the bonding process for the nickel components. High bond strengths were achieved, exceeding current baselines for existing products’ aluminium erosion shields. Researchers integrated the scoop with the aircraft belly fairing panel on which it was mounted. They also manufactured two complete intake assemblies. One unit had fully functional ice-protection heaters and heated acoustic liners. The other was a hard-walled, structural part without heaters or acoustic liners. Both units were successfully tested and delivered for the flight test activities. SANDIT introduced a flight-worthy intake system that fully supports flight trial activities. It will benefit the environmental impact of future aircraft design by enabling electric system architectures and reducing aircraft noise levels and manufacturing waste.


Aircraft, environmental control system, SANDIT, intake system, divergent intake

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