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Orbiting Journal Bearing Experiment

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AOrbit (Orbiting Journal Bearing Experiment)

Reporting period: 2017-03-01 to 2018-08-31

AORBIT will design, build and operate a test rig for journal bearings and process the data obtained to provide the most useful information possible to support the development of suitable bearing systems for high-performance, high-reliability and low-weight speed reduction gearboxes for ultra-high bypass ratio aero-engines of the future. Our overarching aim is to meet this requirement and additionally to propose engineering refinements where appropriate to enhance the development of such journal bearings for the context in light of lessons emerging from the experimentation.
In order to achieve the above main aim, our objectives are to:
• Assemble a complete set of requirements for the bearing testing.
• Determine what concept best meets the requirements of the project.
• Set out a comprehensive plan for the development of the main rig and identify the resources required to deliver to this plan.
• Develop detailed designs for the rig elements.
• Determine an appropriate instrumentation set and design the data-acquisition and control systems.
• Procure and quality-assure component parts required for the rig build.
• Assemble and commission the rig.
• Operate the rig(s) in standard nominal design conditions.
• Operate the rig over a wide range of possible in-service conditions including sets of Endurance and Extreme Load Tests.
• Plan and execute a small number of additional tests based on the findings from early series of tests.
• Assemble a final report.
WP1: Orbiting Journal Bearing Rig – Design
1.1: Requirements and the merits of the identified approaches were identified and reviewed. A simplified rig configuration has been identified.
1.2: A review of parameters and their likely quantifiable measurements were considered. Facilities for the potential inclusion of Acoustic Emission measurement and the ability to start bearing rotation from a known angular position have been included for consideration during later stages of the work.
1.3: The PDR which was held on 26th July 2017.
1.4: Preliminary work towards the CDR indicated that the outline rig design should be capable of operation to cover the full range of expected conditions to match those of interest for engine applications. Three configurations at the same diameter have been chosen to provide the most appropriate range for evaluation of the design parameters within a sensible testing programme.
1.5: The CDR discussion was held on 21st December 2017. D1.3 approved 15/5/18.
1.6: A full set of mechanical design detail drawings for all rig components produced to enable manufacture to take place.

WP2: Build and Commissioning
2.1: Some delay in task 2.1 was caused by resource issues at the University of Nottingham. The programme to achieve controlled rig build has been established. Expected main rig build completion by 12/18 followed by completion of commissioning by 2/19. All aspects of instrumentation and control have either arrived or are scheduled for delivery to meet these dates.
2.2: Due to other rig priorities and test cell availability it has been necessary to procure a new drive system specifically for this rig. The configuration is very similar to existing systems and the designs have been re-used to maintain costs within budget. A consequence of this is that it will remove any conflicts between access limitations which would otherwise be caused by sharing facilities. This has caused some delay in rig procurement and build but will give a significant improvement in rig utilisation and hence reduced test programme duration.
2.3: Rig commissioning is on-schedule for completion in 2/19
2.4: Sign off is planned for 3/19

WP3 and WP4 are not currently live.

WP5: Management and Dissemination
5.1: Deliverables D1.1 D1.2 D1.3 D5.3 D5.4 and D5.6 were all submitted by the project management team and approved, and the project management for deliverables D1.4 D2.1 D2.2 and D3.1 is underway.
The Kick Off meeting was organised and successfully delivered at the beginning of the project.
5.2: Management of the finances for the AOrbit project is ongoing. Project code is set up. Information is being managed for financial claims and audits.
5.3: The risk register is continually monitored and updated as necessary.
5.4: A conference paper was published and presented at the World Tribology Conference (WTC) in 2017. A journal paper is planned.
5.5: Industrial collaboration with local businesses, some of whom have become suppliers to this project. The project also featured in the University’s 10 years of Clean Sky celebration at Farnborough Airshow in 7/18.
AOrbit will allow Europe to develop the capabilities needed to underpin the development of the next generation of aero and other gas turbine engines with smaller, hotter cores, employing architectures and technologies such as Ultra High Bypass Ratios (UHBR) including power gearboxes based on the AOrbit innovations that will deliver the performance improvements and reliability that will be demanded in the future. By supporting these developments the project will assist European aircraft manufacturers in maintaining their market share in the wide-body market (worth ca $275bn), and in due course also in the critical narrow-body market (worth ca $350bn 2012-2013).
UNOTT has a strong track record of working with the energy industry, and the facility will broaden that work to include the industrial gas turbine market, and so bring wider benefits to the UK and European economy. It is noted that “the face of [power] generation in the UK is set to change over the next few years as the need to replace obsolete plant, to meet greenhouse gas emission and other environmental targets and to provide security of energy supplies” . Moreover, a clear need exists in the industrial gas power sector to reduce the cost of the product to remain competitive against other forms of power generation, including renewable and nuclear and be competitive overseas, notably in Asia. There is therefore a requirement to revise and simplify the designs of these systems. Technological areas where such revision is needed include transmissions and dynamics issues, as well as lubrication and cooling. KPMG, in a review of the energy sector, also recognise this requirement for technological development, and argue the need for investment of around £200bn in energy infrastructure over the next 10 years . In the UK in particular this means better supporting R&T and R&D activities .
Gas turbine performance has shown continuous strong improvement over the years since 1950. This is continuing with corresponding rise in the operating temperatures, pressures (OPR heading towards 80) and shaft speeds (heading for up to 30,000 rpm). The current ACARE 2020 and Flightpath 2050 environmental targets and the continuing need for gas turbine manufacturers to offer the best possible Specific Fuel Consumption (SFC) will continue to drive these trends upward for the aerospace sector. To respond to commercial needs and commercial pressures, but also to remain competitive against its main American rivals, Rolls-Royce have recently announced two new engines, Advance and UltraFan™ , the latter a geared turbo-fan engine. Looking longer term, the prospect of an even more fuel efficient engine architecture, the Open Rotor Design (ORD) has been developed in Clean Sky and is due to be flight tested in Clean Sky 2.