Parker Aerospace, a business segment of Parker Hannifin Corporation (NYSE: PH), the global leader in motion and control technologies, today announced the application of technologies designed to enhance the efficiency of aerospace engines in the areas of lubrication, combustion, and thermal management systems. Engine lubrication innovations include the first-time use of composite materials for engine lubrication reservoirs, deploying oil demister technology to reduce emissions, and the development of sophisticated test rigs to optimize engine lubrication systems. Among the Parker Aerospace innovations in engine combustion are ecology tanks, enhanced combustor and fuel atomization nozzle design, and flexible lines for fuel manifolds. Finally, Parker Aerospace is developing highly efficient, low-profile thermal management equipment to save envelope and weight on the engine.
Lighter-weight engine lubrication systems and lowered emissions
An industry first, Parker Aerospace is offering lubrication reservoirs constructed of composite materials and alternative manufacturing methods to reduce pump weight. Compared to traditional reservoirs, those of composite construction can be as much as 40 percent lighter in weight while the pump design saves as much as 10 percent in weight. Building on technology developed by Parker’s Racor Division, Parker Aerospace applied demisting technology to separate oil droplets from vented air out of the lubrication system. The separated oil is then returned to the lubrication system rather being released into the atmosphere.
Rick Mossey, business development manager for the Gas Turbine Fuel Systems Division, explains, “At Parker Aerospace, we know that the first step in emissions reduction is weight reduction. When an airplane has less mass to move, it burns less fuel and creates fewer emissions. That’s where the use of lighter materials comes in, and why we are using composites in applications like our oil reservoirs.” Mossey continued, “To meet other challenges, we often look first to Parker’s existing technology solutions, applying them to solve new customer problems. That was our approach in utilizing Parker’s proven demisting technology to reduce the release of oil vapor emissions.”
Test rig to optimize lubrication systems
Based on established analytical tools, Parker is now building its own integrated lubrication system test rig that will simulate real-world operating conditions, enabling the optimization of the system and its components. By profiling the entire system, Parker can right-size the lubrication system, building it to precisely meet customer performance requirements at the lightest possible weight.
Fuel combustion advances yield less weight, cleaner emissions, and higher reliability
For engine manufacturers, Parker Aerospace offers a number of solutions in the combustor, including Parker’s ecology tanks. An original Parker concept, the ecology tank is installed below the engine’s combustor and is a reservoir in which unburned fuel accumulates for return to the main fuel tanks following engine shutdown. Ordinarily, unburned fuel can collect in the fuel nozzles causing coking – or a buildup of deposits – that can degrade the nozzle’s ability to atomize fuel and cause extra maintenance. When unburned fuel drains to the ecology tank, coking is averted and fuel nozzles can perform at peak efficiency for cleaner fuel burn and reduced emissions. In addition to reducing maintenance costs, any overboard fuel leakage into the environment is eliminated.
Fuel nozzle design is another path to reduced emissions, and Parker Aerospace is using additive manufacturing as a tool to develop lighter weight and more advanced nozzles. In addition, Parker Aerospace works closely with its customers to enhance combustor and fuel nozzle design for more consistently sized fuel droplets and improved fuel/air mixture. Controlling these key variables can contribute to meeting increasingly stringent CO, CO2, and NOx emission standards. Additive technology also eliminates some traditional joining methods and further reduces environmental impact in manufacturing.
Weight savings and less vibration with flexible fuel lines
Aircraft engine fuel manifolds are often designed as a system of rigid tubing and fittings that surround the combustion section, delivering the fuel needed for power. Parker Aerospace is taking steps to reduce the weight of fuel manifolds by replacing rigid tubing with flexible high-temperature fuel lines from its Stratoflex Division. “Lightweight, flexible manifolds manage vibratory loads more efficiently requiring fewer brackets; a secondary weight savings,” said Mossey.
Highly efficient, compact thermal management systems
Historically, heat exchangers have required a large profile in order to provide the heat removal capacity needed in hostile engine environments. Using its proprietary macrolamination manufacturing technology, Parker Aerospace has been able to design and produce engine heat exchangers that provide exceptional heat removal capacity in small low-profile packages that can occupy any available space. According to Mossey, “Engine thermal management systems built using our macrolamination technology can realize a 15 to 20 percent gain in thermal management efficiency while reducing system size and weight. Macrolamination allows us to design systems featuring micro-cooling channels with aspect rations as high as 30:1. This capability enables us to build lower-profile units that create less disruption to bypass air flow within the engine.”
Parker Aerospace is in hall 5, stand #C210, at the Paris International Air Show, June 19-25, 2017.