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Tilt Rotor Integrated Air Intake and Engine Protection Systems

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TRIcEPS (Tilt Rotor Integrated Air Intake and Engine Protection Systems)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-06-30

The NextGenCTR is called to safely operate in harsh environmental conditions, characterized by contaminated air-flow (dust, ash, sand, salt and moisture) and icing conditions. To achieve this goal, TRIcEPS will develop air-intakes with integrated engine protection systems, which will be geared on two key enabling technologies:
• a removable thermoelectric ice protection system based on the heater layer technology.
• a vortex tubes filter for protecting the engine from ingestion of particles in harsh environment.
The air intake will be equipped with a bypass for operation in clean flow and a compressor washing system. The full system will be tested and qualified through extensive testing, which will include Icing wind tunnel measurements and flight tests. TRIcEPS will deliver the air intake, its engine protection system and all the relevant sub-systems at TRL 7.
TRIcEPS consortium started by characterizing the performance of the baseline nacelle air-intake design provided by the Topic Leader. The baseline design does not include any engine protection system, but it has been optimized for ensuring the proper flow to the engine and introducing low losses. TRIcEPS consortium performed several aerodynamic, droplet impingement and structural numerical calculations, which are used to refine the numerical workflows and to guide the future intake design.
TRIcEPS consortium then started the conceptual design of the air-intake with integrated engine protection systems, focusing in this first phase on a solution employing the Vortex tubes filter. The space envelope into the NextGenCTR nacelle and the necessary modification to the outer skin have been identified and agreed with the Topic Leader. Different technical solutions on the implementation of the by-pass door have been presented and will down selected in the next reporting period. The aerodynamic performances of the proposed concept are under evaluation, to verify if the Topic Leader requirements can be satisfied. If confirmed, the preliminary design of the system will proceed.
TRIcEPS will advance the NextGenCTR air intake technology by enhancing the capabilities of the air intake of its single components and sub-systems. At a system level, the IPS, the particle EPS and the compressor washing for tiltrotors are not available on the civil aircraft market. SotA civil tiltrotor intake normally does not include an IPS, while only an integrated inertial particle separator is considered as EPS in civil application. Therefore, TRIcEPS innovation potential is expressed by the following proposed advancements:
• provide the civil market for tiltrotors with a fully electro-thermal solution for the IPS;
• provide the civil market for tiltrotors with a particle EPS with a separation efficiency above 96%, i.e. significantly higher than the present SotA (i.e. below 80%);
• almost match the performance, with respect to particle separation, of the military Bell solution but removing (or largely reducing) the icing protection requirements, the need of maintenance, and easing the flight certification of the system;
• perform a research study on compressor washing system for tiltrotor civil applications;
• reduce and optimize overall weight of the air intake and its systems by designing and employing advanced composite materials.

Concerning the potential impact, TRIcEPS holds the promise of delivering the engine protection system for the air intake of the NextGenCTR, contributing to strengthening the EU position in the global civil rotorcraft market and enabling expanding the market for heavy multi-engine civil rotorcraft. Being TRIcEPS focused on delivering a part of the NextGenCTR, i.e. the air intake and its ice and particle engine protection system, the impact of the project corresponds with the impact of delivering the aircraft for which the part is built.