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Volvo Aero is playing a major role in the new EU development project, VITAL, by producing and testing a composite engine fan frame.
VITAL, an acronym for Environmentally Friendly Aero Engine, shall deliver the technological breakthroughs required for the industry to meet the goals of lower fuel consumption and lower noise set by the European aerospace industry for 2020. These goals are a 50% reduction in noise and carbon dioxide emissions as well as an 80% reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx).
The VITAL project is a four-year programme with 53 partners and a total budget of EUR 90 M with EUR 50 M funded from the EU. Volvo Aero is investing about 10 M EUR in the project.
Volvo Aero is leading a subproject within VITAL with 14 European partners that involves development and testing of load-bearing structures in the engine. Volvo Aero will produce a fan frame in polymer composite material and test it in a full-scale fan rig.
An important partner for Volvo Aero is SICOMP, the Swedish Institute of Composites. Volvo Aero will be responsible for design, while SICOMP will contribute with specialist expertise in production simulation and damage tolerance.
Within the structures subproject, Volvo Aero will also develop automation concepts and new production technology for titanium, as an alternative technology for lighter components. In this area, Volvo Aero will cooperate with the University of Trollhättan/Uddevalla.
Lower noise levels (reduction by 5 to 8 dB) will be achieved and a 7% reduction in CO2 emissions as a result of lowers fuel consumption. The reduced fuel consumption will result from increased propulsion efficiency due to the larger fans.
Chalmers University of Technology is participating in the project by evaluating what effect the different technologies that are developed will have when assembled into a complete engine.
“As the result of our efforts here and in combination with the expertise network we develop with our partners, we strengthen our position as a leading company within aircraft engine structures,” says Anders Sjunnesson, project leader for Volvo Aero’s efforts in VITAL.
Volvo Aero’s subsidiary in Kongsberg, Volvo Aero Norway (VAN) is participating in another subproject in VITAL, involving the development of technologies for stiffer engine shafts, which is required for future higher fan torques.
Volvo Aero’s total share of the project is EUR 8.4 M (of which EUR 4.2 M from the EU). Sweden’s total share in the project is EUR 10 M (of which EUR 5.4 M from the EU). Volvo Aero’s budget is EUR 1.065 M, with an EU contribution of EUR 0.54 M.
VITAL was launched officially at a ceremony in Paris on January 18, 2005 and aims to develop the technologies to meet the industry’s environmental standards in 2020. Volvo Aero foresees great possibilities that the subproject results and concepts studied in VITAL can lead the way to engines for the next generation of short-haul aircraft, the successors to the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320.
Readers to NetComposites News will be aware that Volvo Aero is involved in both of the two engine makes that will power the Airbus A380 as a program partner in the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine.
Please note that the VITAL website is still in a process of development.
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