The concept of this project was to design and build a composite prototype scoop intake, incorporating the following key aspects of design:
- Acoustic panelling
- Electro thermal ice protection
- Lightning protection (if necessary)
- Erosion protection
- Temperature sensing
The objective of the consortium team was to effectively trade the various design requirements to produce an optimised system solution. The project investigated the integration both structurally and electrically of electro-thermal ice protection and acoustic absorbing panelling within a composite inlet scoop structure. It was not the purpose of this project to directly combine the ice protection and noise abatement technologies within the same area of scoop structure. A fully integrated, combined solution such as that was not viable within this project under the current budget; However, GKN does view this as an appropriate objective and a potential development area for future projects. By enabling this direct integration GKN expected significant noise reduction benefits. GKN saw potential in this entire application development area for offering technology progression. Work in this area to date has been focused on engine nacelle lip liner technology and has progressed well although additional support in this area would be necessary to continue the advancement.
The EU Clean Sky JTI Project 255742 (known as SIPAL) was devised to develop a ram air scoop and ducting for a new aircraft all-electric Environmental Control System, from a baseline geometry supplied by the project topic management [Airbus Germany] and a developmental performance specification. This project is an enabler for the European Union initiative to reduce greenhouse gas and noise emissions through the development of a key component in a system which promotes the use of more efficient future aero engines.
The ram air scoop and developmental ECS integration presented some key design considerations for evaluation as part of the Phase 1 program. The scoop requires ice protection due to the size of the air inlet specified and its position relative to the aircraft structure. It is also subject to the extreme environmental conditions of forward-facing aircraft structures such as lightning strike, rain erosion, hail impact and bird strike.
Due to future noise restrictions during ground and flight operations, the scoop required acoustic absorption (abatement) treatment to reduce the overall noise output. The ice protection architecture has been defined by both GKN and Aerotex UK in association with Airbus Germany. Aerotex simulated the icing conditions using bespoke software to predict the severity and extent of ice accretion. Using this data, GKN created specific heating element designs, to meet the power requirements suggested by the analysis, with the aim of removing ice accretion within acceptable (surface area and thickness) limits.
As a part of this study, GKN has also evaluated a number of new and novel composite manufacturing and material technologies to support future production rates and to generate process development data for lower energy processing of aerospace components.