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Business Aviation Laminar Nacelle

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - BALANCE (Business Aviation Laminar Nacelle)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-07-31

BALANCE (Business Aircraft LAminar NaCellE) is a 20 month research and innovation project in the field of aeronautical engineering, launched in January 2016. The global strategic objective behind the BALANCE project is to provide technologies that enable reduction of the drag of the nacelle through increasing the portion of laminar airflow.
The target is to reduce drag by up to 1 % at aircraft level through achieving a laminar flow over 30-40% of the nacelle length. These objectives will assist the development of European capability within the nacelle domain such that Europe is well positioned to provide equipment through the forthcoming business aircraft.
To achieve this, the project will develop key technologies, in particular nacelle architectural options, improved design approaches for reduced steps and gaps, and revised engine access points to enable means of developing better, competitive solutions for future business aircraft nacelles, and to develop key objectives detailed below so as to be best placed in that regard.
The BALANCE project aims at developing new nacelle approaches, and optimising and integrating this equipment within the engine-nacelle zones in a more effective way, so as to deliver new technologies up to TRL5 that match the requirements of lower drag business jet nacelles. BALANCE will enable reduced fuel burn for business jet aircraft by achieving the following main objectives:
o Reduce the drag produced by the nacelle using laminar flow by 1% at aircraft level.
o Ensuring the solution does not impact the nacelle weight adversely
o Ensuring the laminar flow solution does not imply more effort in the production and operation aspects of the product lifecycle.
These technologies will target integration into the future propulsion systems and aircraft applications with expected entry into service (EIS) date between 2020 and 2030
"During period 3, the planning was to continue work upon Work Packages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.
The main objective of WP #2 consists in establishing a short list of two better techno-economic solutions performing at best selection criteria established during the previous work package and to lead a Preliminary Design Review.
WP #3 aims to succeed a Critical Design Review with the best solution and to present an electronic demonstrator in the form of a complete Digital Mock-Up of the Integrated Power Plant System.
WP #4 has to establish the list of the partial demonstrators necessary for the validation of the technologies used in conformance with the retained solution from the previous work packages, the different Test Plans, and the tests follow-up and the Test Reports for all samples.
The main objective of WP #5 are to perform a bird strike damage predictions and to provide a final and complete digital Mock-up of the inlet based on the preliminary bird strike and all of the technical studies presented during CDR review
The objective of WP #6 is to prepare the next steps after the end of the project.
WP # 7 has the objective of ensuring the Programme management of the project, as well as managing the Intellectual Property aspects, including the Consortium Agreement.


The results were a solution that largely achieved the performance requirements, though with further work needed on maturity and specific solutions to specific issues, such as dynamic local-detail behaviour. The drag reduction achieved equated to 0.29% saving, but with a better than envisaged result for cost, and engine integration aspects.

Dissemination of these results has been through sharing with the companies involved within the project, and other Cleansky projects reviewing similar issues. Collaborations with engine manufacturers are being reviewed in light of the advances made.

Exploitation is expected through development of maturity through TRL6 and then application on aircraft programmes. To achieve this, further research is needed on TRL maturity topics, and physical demonstrations on engines/airframes in order to confirm the performance results achieved to date.


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BALANCE will provide to TRL5 new concepts and approaches aimed at reducing the drag present on a business jet nacelle over the frontal nacelle length. Concepts will be examined to achieve the 30-40% length coverage, whilst assessing the impact in IPPS functions and performance in order to develop the best concept capable of achieving the targeted 1 % drag reduction at aircraft level. Building upon nacelle research undertaken in National programmes, BALANCE will lead to a nacelle improvement which supports the ACARE Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda roadmap of a propulsion system design in the short and medium-term that exploits the residual potential of current and emerging designs through their evolution and optimisation. The expected global improvements of these efforts are addressing mainly the environmental aspect, but will also have a positive impact on developing and maintaining industrial leadership and societal needs by providing the technology needed to keep the European aero-engine and equipment industries ahead of the competition.
BALANCE will, for the business jet nacelle sector, contribute to the huge effort required to maintain global leadership for aviation in Europe and meeting the needs of its citizens, the sector being a key component of the existing European Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment. The forthcoming challenges expressed by the Business Jet community of over 9,450 new business jets required over the next 10 years sets a large market opportunity for enhancing the European footprint. Current propulsion system nacelles are able to be sourced from companies based outside of Europe meaning that the achievement of business jet improvements can be reliant on the achievements of non-European companies. BALANCE aims to support further development within Europe of indigenous solutions in order to support increased revenue, and hence jobs within the EU.