CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

Development of high performance turbocharger for aeronautical application

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - High_Performance_TC (Development of high performance turbocharger for aeronautical application)

Berichtszeitraum: 2016-04-01 bis 2017-09-30

Ambition of the project was to create new benchmark for aeronautical boosting systems. To date there is no solution aimed on general aviation market. Past developments, usually fruits of low-cost projects, were focused mainly on “one-off” and/or niche applications. In most cases automotive turbochargers ware being used, with modifications primarily limited to those necessary to install the system in the airplane. Performance and durability were usually compromised.

Demand for turbochargers from general aviation market was, and still is, quite low. Too low to appeal to big turbo manufacturers and justify investment. On the other hand time to recover the costs makes such development prohibitive for smaller company. One should also remember there are not too many small or medium size companies capable to develop new turbocharger and put it in production. Although base architecture can be taken directly from automotive design, specific requirements of aviation application demand unique engineering skills, capabilities, tools and equipment.

For the reasons briefly described above programs like Clean Sky 2 come in handy.

And there are good reasons to think seriously about aviation-specific turbocharger. The “compression ignition” engines burning the aeronautical kerosene/Jet fuels can reduce fuel burn by 50% to 65% compared to a small turbine engine, and by 30% to 50% compared with an avgas engine. In short - environmental benefit and reduction of operating costs. Jet fuels are also worldwide available.
The lower speed of rotation allows important noise reduction, both inside (in the cabin) for passengers and pilots comfort, and outside for the community. This last point may allow the survival of airfields near cities and by consequence the development of the small aviation transportation market.

Although aim was to use state of the art solutions derived from existing automotive and commercial applications, technologies were carefully selected to fulfill requirements of aviation market. In some areas, like aerodynamics, bearings and sealing solutions beyond of what can be considered as state of the art were required. Knowledge and experience gained along the way can support developments of future boosting systems, not only for general aviation.
Project was divided into 5 workpackages:

Work Package 1: Definition Phase
This work package laid foundation to the project. Following requirements’ analysis and review of the state of the art technologies preliminary specification of the turbocharger, preliminary validation plan and project plan were created.

Work Package 2: Engineering
This work package included engineering activities necessary to create set of documents necessary to launch production of the turbocharger prototype: 3D models and drawings of all components, supporting specifications, inspection and assembly instructions and control plans, details of test plan together with requirements for test facility and production and testing tooling and equipment.
Engineering activities were grouped into 2 phases: Concept Development and Detailed Design and Analysis. Former was devoted to creating detailed technical specification which would allow meeting performance, reliability and durability targets, latter on creating detailed definition of the components. Both phases relied heavily on numerical simulations (like Computational Fluid Dynamics, Finale Elements Analysis and Rotordynamics) and thoughtful risk assessment.
Emphasis was put onto assuring design flexible enough to make it applicable for both 4 and 6 cylinder engines being developed by SMA.

Work Package 3: Manufacturing of turbocharger prototypes
Within this work package manufacturing and production of turbocharger prototypes took place.
Manufacturing methods and suppliers were chosen with the aim on simplifying transition from prototype to production. Consultation with SMA to assure planned production volumes were properly accounted for took place.

Work Package 4: Testing and analysis
Turbocharger prototype testing and post-test analysis took place here. Activities focused on verifying turbocharger prototype functionality, performance and efficiency. Testing was performed at hot gas stand, all tests were passed successfully, and subsequent hardware inspection shown prototype being in good condition.

Work Package 5: Project Management
This work package, spanned across whole duration of the project, covered all activities related to managing project’s tasks, coordinating efforts of involved participants and reporting project status and progress to EU.
Apart from aforementioned duties this actions focused on dissemination and exploitation of the results and communication activities were included.
Two comprehensive technical reports, providing details of Concept Development and Detailed Design and Analysis, serve as a good example here.

Below summary presenting key results:
• High compression ratio. Required 3.9:1 achieved without overspeeding turbocharger.
• High corrected compressor air flow. Requirements asked for 320 grams per second, 380 achieved.
• Design is able to cover all required operating points without the need to use wastegate, as required
• Requirements specified weight to be below 7.0 kg, developed prototype was 6.4 kg.
• Aeronautical certficability. SMA confirmed design is capable to fulfill requirements.

Results of the project were convincing enough for SMA to kick-start discussion about further development of the turbocharger prototype, with the goal of taking it into production.

SMA was also pleased with Pankl Turbosystems testing capabilities, so much that Pankl Turbosystems was nominated as SMA’s supplier and is providing testing services.

Last but not least - this project allowed Pankl Turbosystems to build knowledge and understanding of specific requirements of aviation turbochargers. Company was able to make inroads into General Aviation market, several projects are already ongoing, and several others are being discussed.
The main impact of the project is summarized below:
• Demonstration of high performance, highly efficient and affordable technology with potential to contribute in the mid-term to grow of small aviation transportation market.
• Strengthening European industry. Project was performed by European medium-size companies.
• Co-operation of companies operating in aerospace and automotive created platform for cross-industry knowledge and experience sharing and leveraging, and thus increasing participants’ innovation potential and competitive advantage
• Having available European-made, industry-first, aeronautical turbocharger creates chance for job creation in Europe. This is of significant importance, as it puts participants into good starting position on the market with high potential to grow.

Progress beyond state of the art:
During the course of the project concept and preliminary design of the bearing system capable to operate with almost no lubrication was created. Supplier of the hardware was identified, as well. To our knowledge it is the 1st such design for turbocharger. Details of the further development of this concept are being discussed between SMA and Pankl Turbosystems.

Another worthy achievement is introduction of new compressor wheel material, high strength aluminum alloy AL-MS-95. It was selected as a prime option for future development, and it is already being used by Pankl Turbosystems for other projects.
Turbocharger prototype
Turbocharger prototype inside test bench
Turbocharger prototype after testing
Turbocharger prototype
Turbocharger prototype
Turbocharger prototype during production