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Pressurised Rotational Oil Transfer – Experimental Unit & System

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - PROTEUSS (Pressurised Rotational Oil Transfer – Experimental Unit & System)

Reporting period: 2022-06-01 to 2023-07-31

With the drive for engine cores to become smaller in size whilst operating at ever greater speeds and loads, the demands placed on the transmission systems are becoming ever greater. Correspondingly, effective lubrication, liquid cooling and hydraulic actuation are increasingly essential to the performance and life span of engine transmission systems. The above general trends, coupled with a recent resurgence of interest in open rotor engines, propel a need for new Oil Transfer Bearings (OTBs) to be developed.

OTBs are required for two main reasons: (a) to provide both lubrication to bearings of planetary gears when the carrier of an epicyclic gearbox rotates and (b) to actuate movable objects on the rotating frame such as a blade pitch mechanism. The proposed experimental rig and supporting computational model will investigate both of these conditions simultaneously.

OTBs are, in short, an essential component that requires improvement to proceed towards the overall goal of efficiency, reliability and size.

This project will design an OTB, build a model, a prototype, and a test rig to confirm the overall design while meeting the advanced demands needed for the future of the electrification of the aircraft.
The work breakdown structure to accomplish the project (Status reflects period of June 2019 to May 2022):

1. The specification will be elicited from the customer, and the risk analysis will be completed by UNOTT leading to a Statement of Requirements (SOR).
Status: Completed with exception of development of the Test plan.

2. The design of the Oil Transfer Bearing and the maturation of this design through the preliminary, critical and detailed design phases against the SOR established in #1.
Status: Preliminary design is completed, and it is being run through the iterative design cycle to achieve optimal design. Project Critical Design Review (CDR) is scheduled for Q2/Q3 2021.

3. The design of the Test rig, which will be developed to test the OTB through preliminary, critical and detailed design phases against the SOR.
Status: preliminary design review is completed. CDR is pending for Q2 2021.

4. Prototyping / Building and commissioning the OTB and the Test rig.
Status: dependent on #3.

5. Main test programme within the project, where endurance tests and extreme tests will be conducted to assess the performance of the OTB.
Status: dependent on #4.

6. Analysis of the test results and developing an understanding of the key findings from the test data.
Status: dependent on completion of all above times.

7. Project management, administration and dissemination activities. These will provide the relevant level of project reporting on financial and administrative matters, as well as wider dissemination to the public in the spirit of publicly funded research.
Status: Ongoing.
The CS2JU work plan aims for a reduction in CO2 produced by the engine by 15-20%. A demonstrated OTB via PROTEUSS can contribute towards this by producing an efficient design. Specifically, this will be achieved via a reduction in oil leakage as well as providing cooling to the powered gearbox. Weight will also be kept to a minimum. Achieving these goals can only help towards the 15-20% CO2 reduction.

This project will have impacts beyond those achievable via direct gas-turbine-driven propulsion. It is now commonly acknowledged that propulsion will become largely electrified in the future with electrically-driven propulsors replacing the fans or propellers in now-conventional arrangements. The electricity powering these electrical propulsion machines may come from gas-turbines for much of the cruise phase of long flights and high fractions may be drawn from batteries during take-off.

PROTEUSS will also contribute to overall environmental improvements (ACARE 2020, FlightPath 2050 and Clean Sky targets) by realising more efficient gas turbine engines, and, in the longer term, lighter and more effective electrically-driven propulsors. Linked to this is an economic impact whereby reduced emissions are linked to enhanced performance and reduced fuel burn. These factors offer equipment with desirable performance attributes that should result in enhanced sales; such as with the current PW1000G engine family.
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