Aviation hydraulic fluids are hygroscopic and, as a result, their lifetime is highly unpredictable. The performance of the entire aircraft hydraulic system is affected by the condition of the hydraulic fluid and if degradation goes undetected, it may cause damages with serious consequences. These may be economic at best or catastrophic at worst. At present, assessing the condition of the hydraulic fluid in an aircraft is laborious, time-consuming and expensive. Therefore the fluid is typically tested less than once a year, with the risk of unscheduled maintenance if the fluid has exceeded its limits of usage. Consequential interruption of the airline service bears a huge economic cost.
This project proposes the development of an optimised maintenance concept based on an autonomous onboard system capable of monitoring the fluid condition and restoring it when required. This will increase the lifetime of the fluid yet prevent damage caused by degraded fluid. If external reconditioning or change of the fluid should prove to be unavoidable, this could be scheduled to coincide with regular service and maintenance operations, thanks to the predictive capability of the monitoring system. Fibre-optic sensors using luminescent indicators as well as alternative optical and electrochemical sensors will be developed for fluid monitoring. Similarly, different water separation and elimination techniques will be investigated and selected.
The chosen approach yields a balanced-risk strategy in which established techniques are combined with cutting-edge research, the outcome of which results in concurrent individual deliverables of high intrinsic value, thereby enhancing the combined benefits expected from the project. The impact of this system would extend far beyond the consortium partners: the cost savings to airlines due to the optimised maintenance strategy will give European constructors such a competitive advantage that the entire industry will be strengthened.
Fields of science
- engineering and technologyelectrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineeringelectronic engineeringsensors
- engineering and technologymechanical engineeringvehicle engineeringaerospace engineeringaircraft
- engineering and technologyelectrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineeringelectronic engineeringautomation and control systems
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project