“Advanced multidisciplinary and collaborative capabilities for whole aircraft (including engine) along its life cycle”
The development of SLOWD methods and models and their integration into an industrial design framework is considered to have enormous potential if applied to upgrades of already certified aircraft. In fact, this will allow exploiting the conservatism in design gust/landing loads, potentially avoiding expensive and unnecessary structural reinforcements and corresponding weight increase.
The potential will be demonstrated via the application to an actual use-case of major design upgrade already implemented by Airbus on a commercial aircraft. The exact measure of the benefit in terms of overall aircraft weight will be quantified via comparison with actual data from past industrial experiences.
The SLOWD multidisciplinary approach targets a saving of about 3% on total wing weight with direct impact on fuel consumption. Consequently, the above will contribute to the Flightpath 2050 challenge for “Protecting the Environment”. Note that exploiting conservatism in an existing design will limit the option in active and passive control strategies.
“Significantly reduced aircraft design cycle and higher complexity decision trade-offs”
The development of SLOWD methods and models and their integration into the industrial design framework will provide the capability of considering the coupled phenomena of sloshing and structural dynamics in a multidisciplinary environment, so that optimal design can be achieved in a shorter time frame compared to traditional design methods. Such approach will allow for innovative design solutions, such as novel wing tank layouts thanks to increase the complexity of the models, hence addressing the Flightpath 2050 challenge for “Maintaining Global Leadership”.
The exact benefits in terms of speed in the cycle and increased complexity in the design process will be assessed via the definition of a use case and comparative analysis with current industrial standards.
To measure the benefit derived by the increase complexity an estimate of the aircraft weight savings for three different designs will be considered:
- Optimum design achieved via the framework developed within SLOWD
- Design with no considerations of sloshing effects
- A-posteriori optimisation applied to a design with no considerations of sloshing
The SLOWD approach targets weight savings of 6% (double of that achievable for an existing design) for an optimised tank configuration with active or passive slosh control. This target is based on the industrial experience of AG and ADS. This is assumed considering full exploitation of the framework capabilities, including those related to active and passive control design.
As a consequence of the aircraft weight reductions, a corresponding effect is also expected on fuel consumption.
“Development of synergies on visualisation methods and big-data analytics”
The SLOWD consortium aims to integrate within the same framework full order and reduced order/analytical models. The framework will support its users in building the reduced models from the full order ones; in understanding the simulation results and also in comparing the accuracies of the different types of models. This will be achieved identifying key simulation parameters and subsequently developing suitable visualisation techniques. For this purpose, a dedicated work package (WP7) has been included in the SLOWD workplan.
“Increase the European innovation potential in Aeronautics and Air Transport (AAT) by a more balanced and integrated collaboration of industry, including SMEs and research providers”
The establishment of the SLOWD consortium and the related activities of exchange of personnel between large aerospace groups, SMEs and Academia are seen as a catalyst for innovation in Aeronautics, Air Transport and the aerospace sector in general. In fact, the involvement of partners active also in space and other transport sectors (maritime) will bring their know-how into the AAT sector. Furthermore, the consortium aims to develop methods and tools on a common computing environment so as to facilitate the exchange between the Industry, SMEs and Academia. This is seen as a means to accelerate the exploitation of research software in the industrial context.
In addition to the impacts mentioned, the SLOWD partners aim to develop a scientific understanding of the governing mechanism leading to the dramatically increased (~60-70%) damping with the potential of patent generation. A number of patent applications are expected to be filed by the partners thanks to ideas generated within the project.
Also, the presence of a South African institution (UCT) as partner in the consortium is seen as a first step towards strengthening collaboration between European aviation stakeholders with emerging economies in Africa.