Skip to main content

DEsign, development, manufacture, testing and Flight qualification of nExt geNeration fuel storage system with aDvanced intEgRated gauging and self-sealing capabilities

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - DEFENDER (DEsign, development, manufacture, testing and Flight qualification of nExt geNeration fuel storage system with aDvanced intEgRated gauging and self-sealing capabilities)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2021-12-31

The DEFENDER project aims at developing, manufacturing, testing, and qualifying innovative next-generation fuel storage system with innovative features to be integrated into the Next Generation Civil Tiltrotor (NextGenCTR) framed in the Fast Rotorcraft (FRC) Innovative Aircraft Demonstrator Platform (IADP). The first step consists of a specification review and preliminary system design activity and a technological study, both aimed to design the fuel system and assessing the effectiveness of the proposed innovations. The Fuel System architecture will be used to drive the next detail design phase. Starting from the requirements, the specification of the interfaces and the digital mock-up, the DEFENDER consortium will proceed with the design (at mechanical, electric discharge, electronic and hydraulic level) and analysis, by minimizing the weight and maximizing the safety. Special care will be dedicated to the advancement “beyond the state of art” even during the early stage of the design.
During the first period, the actions performed were related to the definition of the project requirements and the trade-off analyses between different innovative configurations. Such activities have been detailed in the documentation for the Preliminary Design Review. Besides the material selection for the tanks, analyses have been performed to assess innovative technologies, especially the application of the Additive Layer Manufacturing technique for the production of metallic interfaces and connections. The first results revealed that the ALM technique might be an effective procedure to optimize the metallic parts of the FSS.

The technical activities performed during the second reporting period concerned the definition of the most relevant technical aspects to achieve the go-ahead for the tooling and manufacturing phase.
Such activities mainly concerned the definition of material properties to calibrate the numerical simulations, the assessment on cost and environmental impacts of the Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) technique, the topological optimization, and design of the ALM flanges, the definition of the engineering program plan for what concerns the defect qualification for the ALM flanges, and the drop tests definition. Moreover, other activities were devoted to defining all shape details of tanks, interfaces, and provisions. Advanced numerical simulations of the crash test have been performed by considering a representative fuel tank/wing assembly. The related results have been reported in a conference paper.

The main objectives for the third reporting period have been:
• Manufacturing of tooling, foams, and fuel tanks
• Validation/verification of the high-fidelity numerical model for the drop test simulation
• Experimental tests for ALM parts
• Development and preliminary validation of high-fidelity numerical models for structural health-monitoring systems.
The potential impacts until the end of the project are:
- a significant weight reduction of the subsystem;
- reduction of the manufacturing and maintenance cost;
- reduction of the lead-time with advanced manufacturing techniques;
- safety improvements.
Cube drop test
3D simulation of fluid-structure interactions
A fuel tnak of the first shipset
Vibration test of ALM flanges
Topological Optimization of possible components to be manufactured by ALM
Crash-test simulation results