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Ultra High Aspect Ratio Wing Advanced Research and Designs

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - U-HARWARD (Ultra High Aspect Ratio Wing Advanced Research and Designs)

Reporting period: 2020-05-01 to 2021-07-31

• What is the problem/issue being addressed?
U-HARWARD will consider the use of innovative aerodynamic and aeroelastic designs in a multi-fidelity multi-disciplinary optimal design approach to facilitate the development of Ultra-High aspect ratio wings for large transport aircraft. A conceptual design study, building on the current state of the art, will perform trade-off studies to determine the potential gains of different wing configurations and loads alleviation concepts in terms of aerodynamics, weight, noise, fuel-burn and range. Scaled model wind tunnel tests will be used to validate parametric variations in the aerodynamic and acoustic characteristics. Starting from a reference aircraft, the preliminary design of the best candidate configuration will be completed and the estimated gains validated using high fidelity tools and a larger scale aeroelastic test.

• Why is it important for society?
Aviation is a strong driver of economic growth, jobs, trade and mobility for the European Union. It plays a crucial role in the EU economy and reinforces its global leadership position. The EU aviation sector directly employs between 1.4 and 2 million people and overall supports between 4.85 million and to 5.56 million jobs. The direct contribution of aviation to EU GDP is €110 billion, while the overall impact, including tourism, is as large as €510 billion through the multiplier effect (https://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-661_en.htm). Both the aircraft production and airline operation industries are active on the most globalized markets; therefore, the conservation and future expansion of employment will necessitate a highly increased competitiveness. Growing competition from existing and new entrants means that the European sector can only survive by being a global leader in terms of innovation and product performance, at affordable costs and with high volume availability. As challenging as this may appear, meeting the objective of providing concepts for the next generation European aircraft will open up new market slots. The entire supply chain will benefit of the forecast turnover both in terms of new jobs and new manufacturing plant creation.
The U-HARWARD project aims at a relevant innovation of the European aircraft production, by strongly contributing to the setup of the innovative new product. The forecasted progress beyond SoA will drastically reduce the time-to-market of aircraft relying on such technologies. Indeed, U-HARWARD will enhance the potentiality of the aircraft in terms of fuel consumption by designing innovative and more efficient Ultra-High Aspect Ratio Wings. This has a reasonable impact in terms of direct and indirect costs, making the aircraft of new generation a competitive product.
Reducing the environmental impact of transports, including aeronautics is one of the challenges that the European Community is facing with huge efforts. To this purpose, improving aircraft performance, following the well-known targets (e.g. fuel consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduced by 50%, Nitrous oxides (NOX) emissions reduced by 80%, reduction in perceived external noise of 50%) fixed by the Advisory Council for Aeronautical Research in Europe (ACARE), is now mandatory.

• What are the overall objectives?
The top level objective of U-HARWARD projects can be summarized as follows:
To investigate novel configurations based on high and ultra-high aspect ratio so to maximize the benefits in terms of global performances and environmental impact and minimize the structural penalties usually associated to this configuration by means of optimization techniques and new aeroelastic control technologies. To develop a new optimized unconventional design.
The project officially started May 1st, 2020. Indeed, despite the pandemic situation the consortium decided to not move ahead the starting date. The Grant Agreement (GA) with completed very quickly and officially signed (9/03/2020).
One of the first activities in WP1 dedicated to the project management was focused on the finalization of the Consortium Agreement (CA). The CA has been accepted and signed in l 17/6/2020. The related Deliverable D1.1 has been officially submitted in 25/6/2020.
Next management activities were related to the preparation of the plan for dissemination and exploitation of project results (WP 1) that were then finalized with the submission of the Plan for exploitation and dissemination of project results, prepared by POLIMI and IBK, submitted at 1/11/2020 as Deliverable 1.2. A webpage dedicated to the project has been implemented and switched on by POLIMI at the end of May 2020.
The technical activities started from the beginning in parallel with the management ones. The first one was related to WP2 aiming at the following goals:
• To compare the design capabilities available by different partners
• To identify a Reference Aircraft to be used during the development of the innovative high aspect ratio novel configurations
• To investigate innovative configurations capable to exploit the potential benefits of high and ultra-high aspect ratio wings.
To better investigate the aforementioned goals, the work in WP2 has been divided among three teams inside the consortium, i.e.; POLIMI/IBK, to investigate ultra-high aspect ratio wing in cantilever configuration; ONERA/ISAE to investigate the strut-braced configuration and finally BRISTOL/SIEMENS to investigate the folding wing tip configuration.
The second activity was related to WP4 for the definition of the wind tunnel models to be tested in the second year of the project. In particular, the model for aeroacoustic test to be carried out in Bristol has been defined and the manufacturing activities already started, some difficulties are still in place for the definition of model for the transonic wind tunnel test. Details will be provided in the dedicated chapter.
Regarding the overall operating costs, a recent study estimated the reduction of Direct Operating Costs (DOC) and Cash Operating Costs (COC) of new UHARW wing configurations, derived from the A320 as baseline configuration. The result is that COC can be reduced of more than 12%, with a reduction of fuel consumption higher than 30% for an optimized Strut Braced Wing Other works, despite being less optimistic, estimate a reduction of operating costs of about 4%, with a fuel burn reduction of up to 7%, with a strut braced wing obtained by starting from a Bombardier CRJ aircraft as baseline.

Regardind the pollutants, the impact of this potential in terms of weight reduction on the environment, which U-HARWARD will contribute to, is of paramount importance. OEMs data show that thanks to a weight reduction of 1t, potential benefit of 900t CO2 reduction per year can be achieved. This is in line with the work-programme, the ACARE Vision 2020 and the Flightpath 2050 strategy.
It is therefore expected that the implementation and the success of this project will contribute to the development of European technical leadership in aircraft design and manufacturing and will increase competitiveness of EU companies on a worldwide market, helping in the realization of more efficient and less expensive aircraft. Therefore, the consequent impact of U-HARWARD on the whole society is then immediate and tangible.
U-HARWARD Configurations