GKN air intake cuts ice and noise risk.
GKN Aerospace has led a project to develop what is believed to be the first air intake design for aircraft to integrate both ice protection and noise reduction technology.
The scoop intake and channel including ice and debris protection and acoustic liners (Sipal) programme responded to an Airbus-defined requirement for an air intake that would feed air into a new electronic environmental control system for the passenger cabins of possible future single-aisle aircraft. Among the challenges faced by GKN's engineers was the proposed position of the air intake on the aircraft. The location would be exposed to icing and hail damage, as well as lightning and bird strikes and would be close to the baggage handlers' area, with the resultant strict limits on noise levels.
Working with specialist aircraft de-icing supplier AeroTex, GKN Aerospace created a composite intake structure that integrates electro-thermal ice protection and acoustic attenuation technology and is coated with a metallic spray-on erosion shield which incorporates lightning protection. The intake has been tested in GKN's wind tunnel in Luton, where it achieved all Airbus requirements. The integrated acoustic technology significantly reduced noise levels.
Russ Dunn, GKN Aerospace senior vice-president of engineering and technology, said: "This inlet design has immense potential both for new aircraft and as a retrofit item.
"Engineers from across the company are now combining their expertise in areas such as engine systems, ice protection and additive manufacture to exploit the experience we have gained on Sipal and related R&D programmes, to drive even greater improvements in component performance with critical reductions in environmental impact."