ADDitive mAnufacturing oPTimized TAilored SEALS
Primary mission of the wing and the different aerodynamic surfaces is creating lift as optimum as possible. Elastic seals are needed to avoid the air to flow by the gaps between the different surfaces that could cause a malfunction of the aerodynamic component or even the complete wing. Commonly the currently used seals are not fulfilling properly this mission, as the current manufacturing process in plastic injection needs very expensive and long delivery time tooling that prevent the introduction of modifications during the development process. So, the designed seals cannot be properly optimized during development, and its final performance is far from being perfect.
Development times are also affected, as producing the injection tooling is a highly time-consuming process.
In addition, the assembly solution is neither optimum due to the geometrical limitation introduced by the moulds used in injection.
Additive manufacturing technologies have clear potential to solve all these issues. Despite the maturity level of specific materials for this manufacturing process, later usage in aircraft sector is very poor today. This project pretends to customize the formulation of existing materials to be processed in an optimum way by additive manufacturing technologies, for the specific purpose of aircraft operation, and with recyclable properties to make a giant step ahead in the optimization of performance of the component.
Additionally, the selected manufacturing process (advanced FDM) will allow the production of multi-material seals, so the best features of current most performant reinforced seals can be reproduced, but allowing a much more complex geometry, no restriction to modification and optimization loops, and with just a fraction of its cost and its delivery time.
Putting everything together, this project will drive to optimize aerodynamic performance, weight, assembly and maintenance, so less fuel consumption and pollution, maintenance costs and waste of material.