Context | T-TECH Project

The T-TECH Project is involved in the EU framework program Clean Sky 2, in the Fast Rotocraft platform, in which the development of a new Tiltrotor aircraft called NGCTR-TD (Next generation of Civil Tilt Rotor, Technology Demonstrator) is planned by Leonardo Elicotteri.

Project Partners are:

The development will lead to the flight demonstration of the new aircraft by the end of 2023. The engineering of the aircraft’s wing represents a technological challenge never faced, neither in Italy nor in Europe, also in consideration of the peculiarities possessed by the type of aircraft and the level of innovation present to make this aircraft more efficient, safe and with lower operating costs. Currently the development of the aircraft, wing and moving surfaces are in the detailed design phase with the creation of the main tool for layering the wing. In 2021, the wing qualified both dynamically and structurally was delivered. While the qualification and delivery of the movable surfaces is expected by the end of 2022. Everything will then be integrated into the NGCTR-TD and tested in flight.

The T-TECH project aims to develop innovative and qualified demonstrators for the flight of one of the mobile surfaces of the aircraft wing. The so-called “morphing surface” is one of the main innovations, as it allows to reduce the impingement area of ​​the rotor in the helicopter flight phase by reducing the downwash induced in this phase. By rotating about 90°, it reduces the area of ​​the wing exposed to the rotor flow. In airplane flight the surface returns to a neutral position. The aileron-flap (flaperone) is instead an end surface, smaller than the morphing, which acts as a control surface in roll and hyper-lift maneuvers during take-off.

T-TECH | the targets

  • OR1 Design and construction of one of the mobile surfaces in thermoplastic composite, with attachments and kinematics in Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) using engineered powders, monitored with a Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) system and protected against lightning with a coating based on the material functionalized applied via Cold Spray (CS) technique.
  • OR2 Development of enabling technologies for
    1. Creation of structural parts in thermoplastic;
    2. Production of Parts in Additive Manufacturing, with custom material, obtained from the mixing process of metal powders, under development by SOPHIA;
    3. Development of new metal powders for Additive Manufacturing to increase the conductivity of thermoplastic matrix surfaces and fine-tuning of the Cold Spray process parameters (pressure, speed, spray temperature, number of cycles);
    4. Development of a structural monitoring technique with embedded sensors, including Damage Detection and Residual Strength Monitoring algorithms
  • OR3 Ground qualification of the new mobile surface for both structural and lightning behavior;
  • OR4 Flight qualification of the mobile surface prototype by the EndUser Leonardo Helicopters (by the end of 2023).

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