Nowadays, large aeronautical multinationals, aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers are immersed in the concept called “More Electric Aircraft”, which will enable the aircraft industry to improve significantly in terms of reduction in aircraft weight, fuel consumption, total life cycle costs, maintainability and reliability. This trend is accelerating in recent years and the companies have to invest heavily to realize this concept of more electric aircraft, in which traditional hydraulic and pneumatic systems are being replaced by electrically-driven systems.
The overall goal of the project is focused on incrementing the efficiency of Electro-Mechanical and Electro-Hydrostatic systems in terms of extending the life and improving the reliability and enhancing the performance of the maintenance activities of wing actuation systems. It means to investigate and improve innovative sealing and sensor solutions, combined with health monitoring technologies, able to monitor the actuation systems and to detect and predict failures at an early stage in order to avoid a catastrophic fault. With this objective in mind, the activities within the project have been oriented to the following goals:
- To investigate innovative and alternative sealing solutions that are able to reduce the friction, wear and leakage at high level of deformation monitored in accelerated seal tests (TESSA © TEKNIKER). To increase lifetime to thermal cycles of the seals.
- To investigate innovative and alternative lubricant solutions that are able to reduce friction and wear and to increase extreme pressure properties, increasing the temperature limit and time to a fixed temperature in relation to reference lubricants. The best lubricating alternatives will be tested in order to quantify their capacity to extend their lifetime.
- To provide new oil sensing systems to monitor the status of the lubricant (chemical and physical parameters along with inspection of solid particles) with a twofold aim: identify faulty conditions and extend the life of the lubricant.
- The lifetime control (friction, wear) of the selected gears materials and lubricants will be performed by means of accelerated simulated tests monitoring in parallel both vibrations and wear, in order to create the right knowledge for conditions monitoring.
- To develop, implement and integrate Health Monitoring algorithms to predict failures before affecting the actuator output in a critical way, addressing some mechanical parts of the actuation systems such as seals, gearbox and ball screws.