Breakthrough solutions identified in Safran Nacelles-led research for Ultra-High Bypass Ratio next-gen powerplants

May 24, 2018

A European commission-funded study led by Safran Nacelles has identified potential solutions for the next-generation of aircraft Ultra-High Bypass Ratio (UHBR) powerplants, which could shorten their development times, reduce weight as well as provide increased access to systems and equipment.

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The three-year technology project – called Novel Integration of Powerplant System Equipment (NIPSE) – involved 10 companies/organizations and provided solutions that can be considered as real breakthroughs, according to Iain Minton, the NIPSE project coordinator, who also is engineering head at Safran Nacelles' Burnley, England operations.

"NIPSE addressed the integration challenges expected with such future highly-integrated powerplants, where the installation of systems will be more difficult," Minton explained. "This is because UHBR engines are expected to have thinner nacelles and larger fan modules, which requires moving most engine equipment from fan to an area under the thrust reverser. Additionally, UHBR architectures require more functionality and create extra thermal constraints due to their lower ventilation capability and reduced volume."

Initial results from the NIPSE study, reported at last month's ILA Berlin air show, focused on three objectives:

  • Reduce development time for future UHBR engine architectures: the NIPSE study defined a tool that could trim some tasks of the integration process by as much as 40 percent when compared to existing practices, enabling outputs of weight, geometry and length of harnesses and connections to be calculated within minutes.
  • Reduce the volume required for equipment and thermal management functions, while also lowering the associated weight of systems and connections: weight and volume reductions of up to 10 percent were identified by the NIPSE study through such steps as applying novel manufacturing approaches for pneumatic equipment.
  • Maintain maintenance access times to systems and equipment within the engine: Solutions such as innovative maintenance actuators for thrust reverser are expected to facilitate access to the powerplant, which becomes more critical with the anticipated movement of equipment away from the fan compartment, as required by the UHBR technology.

The 10 companies/organizations participating in the NIPSE study are Safran Nacelles, Safran Aircraft Engines, Safran Electrical & Power, Netherlands Aerospace Center (NLR), Thermocoax, Meggitt, BAE Systems, Compañía Española de Sistemas Aeronáuticos (CESA), Archimedes Center for Innovation and Creation, and ARTTIC International Management Services.

NIPSE has received funding from the European commission's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 636218.