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Design and Realization of equipped engine compartments including cowling for a fast compound rotorcraft

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - DREAM (Design and Realization of equipped engine compartments including cowling for a fast compound rotorcraft)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2020-12-31

"The aim of the DREAM project is to develop and manufacture the main elements constituting the engine compartments of the High Speed Rotorcraft (Cowlings, Air Intake, Engine Bay Ventilation).

Development in the field of rotorcraft and parallel improvement of a fixed-wing aircrafts, resulted in new concepts, that were designed to combine airplane and rotorcraft capabilities, giving birth to a VTOL aircraft that will reach speeds greater than helicopters and that will be able to hover. Creation of different concepts and prototypes speeded up in 40's, since that time many projects were initiated, however most of them ended up on the prototype phase. The latest achievements in this field belong to Sikorsky and Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) companies. Eurocopter in the recent years successfully built and tested the X3 compound rotorcraft (first compound rotorcraft built in Europe since the 1950', when the Fairey Rotodyne was flown).

RACER demonstrator will help to improve industrial and scientific capabilities in the field of compound rotorcrafts giving Europe opportunity to stay on a predominant position in the rotorcraft industry across the globe. It is worth to emphasize, that within completion of the RACER project, not only industrial but also societal and environmental aspects shall be taken into account. Continuously increasing number of flights and predicted further growth of air travel, results in increased impact on environment and is a challenge facing aviation industry in terms of finding new and more environmentally-friendly solutions that can enter into service in a relatively short period of time, taking into account dynamic (observed and predicted) congestion increase in the airspace. The above is confirmed by the Clean Sky 2 Factsheet: ""Air transport contributes today about 3% to global greenhouse gas emissions, with traffic expected to triple by 2050. Although other sectors are more polluting (electricity and heating produces 32% of greenhouse gases), this expected growth makes it necessary to address aviation’s environmental impact. Meeting the EU’s climate and energy objectives will require a drastic reduction of the sector’s environmental impact by reducing its emissions. Maximising fuel efficiency, using less to go farther, is also a key cost-cutting factor in a very competitive industry – and as air traffic increases, better noise reduction technologies are needed."". Moreover increasing expectations in terms of door-to-door mobility underlines the need of searching for more affordable and better performance solutions.

Realisation of the DREAM project includes searching for cutting-edge solutions in aviation engineering field, allowing to:
• manufacture innovative engine compartments of the Compound Rotorcraft demonstrator
• find the best solution especially in terms of:
- weight of the final product;
- cost of the manufacturing process;
- high shape fidelity"
First stage of the Project was dedicated to Concept Design Definition and has been covered by CAD and FEM activites (input was delivered by the Topic Manager). Tasks within this part of work were focused on general and detailed geometry development, FEM analysis, material and manufacturing process definition of Upper Cowlings, Air Intake and Ventilation Ducts for the RACER Demonstrator, paying particular attention to weight, cost, shape and other requirements. It resulted with a documentation including set of detailed 3D Catia models for every System and reports from Finite Element Method Analyses. During this reporting period also series of screening tests were performed, which resulted in the choice of composite material for parts manufacturing.
On 25th of April 2018 DREAM Consortium completed one of milestones – Preliminary Design Review during the meeting held at Airbus Helicopters facility in Marignane France the work carried until that time was validated.

Second stage of the project was focused on definition of the detailed design, which covered detailed FEM analyses and preparation of the draft of the final report as well as detailed geometry definition taking mainly into account FEM-CAD loops and Topic Manager’s requirements. First draft of the whole 2D documentation has been defined. Detailed discussions with the potential sealing manufacturers took place, official search for metallic parts manufacturers has started. Test campaign has been completed (only additional tests of a new material, which was decided to be introduced recently, are being carried out). First mould (and the most complicated multi-piece mould used in the Project) has been manufactured – the mould served for manufacturing of the first parts (dedicated to Ventilation tests). Process of manufacturing and assembly drawings fine-tuning has started. Exhaust, Lower MGB and Centre Engine Cowling toolings’ design was completed – preparation to the tooling manufacturing has started. A number of Dissemination and Communication activities was completed.

Within 3rd Reporting Period Test Campaign (including additional tests of high temperature composite material) and FEM analyses were finished, while their results (reports) delivered to and accepted by the Topic Manager. 3D design documentation was frozen and most of 2D manufacturing drawings were released after they were fine-tuned according to comments from Topic Manager and Partner responsible for manufacturing. Subcontractors for manufacturing of the sealings and metallic parts were selected. Tooling for the sealings and the sealings were manufactured by the subcontractor. LA composite (Partner responsible for manufacturing) started the tooling and parts manufacturing process – Exhaust Cowlings (including high temperature resistant parts) and Centre Engine Cowlings were manufactured.
Proposed herein project realisation, will strongly contribute to the established goals and expected impact of the LifeRCraft compound helicopter. Not only will it improve innovation capacity and knowledge integration, but will strengthen the European competitiveness as well. Also it will have strong impact on every Partner of the DREAM Consortium.
Through the Project strengthening of cooperation between research and manufacturing centres in Poland and Czech Republic was possible. It results also in design processes improvement and new technologies introduction through transferring know-how, experience and guidelines between Partners. Realisation of the project contributes also to the cooperation between the participants, strengthening European competitiveness of the general aviation sector. Planned research on new technologies carried out in parallel with design activities focused on searching for solutions providing the best performance will develop innovations meeting the needs of the European and global markets.
RACER Airbus Helicopters
RACER Airbus Helicopters