Browse Prior Art Database

Integral Live-Hinge Composite Panel

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000236160D
Publication Date: 2014-Apr-10
Document File: 5 page(s) / 262K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

Justin C. Mickelsen: INVENTOR [+2]

Abstract

An important area of functional performance of aircraft parts such as APU enclosures, fire shields and engine cowls is their maintenance or installation/ removal time. This performance metric is directly related to the part count reduction and the type of fittings of these aircraft parts/ enclosures. However, it remains a challenge to design these aircraft parts with above mentioned functional performance while maintaining the structural integrity and the required geometric/ functional complexity. Hence, there is a need of a design that can offer required flexibility with reduced number of parts. The proposed design has live hinges that reduces the number of mechanical fasteners which in turn reduces the time taken for installation/ removal. Further, these parts are flexible and are made up of lightweight composite material.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 49% of the total text.

Page 01 of 5

Integral Live-Hinge Composite Panel

Justin C. Mickelsen, William H. Doddman ABSTRACT

An important area of functional performance of aircraft parts such as APU enclosures, fire shields and engine cowls is their maintenance or installation/ removal time. This performance metric is directly related to the part count reduction and the type of fittings of these aircraft parts/ enclosures. However, it remains a challenge to design these aircraft parts with above mentioned functional performance while maintaining the structural integrity and the required geometric/ functional complexity. Hence, there is a need of a design that can offer required flexibility with reduced number of parts. The proposed design has live hinges that reduces the number of mechanical fasteners which in turn reduces the time taken for installation/ removal. Further, these parts are flexible and are made up of lightweight composite material.


1. Introduction

In an aircraft there are several components such as APUs and engines that should be protected or covered with panels or cowls so as to comply with fire protection or complex aerodynamic design requirements. Generally these panels are made of metal and are attached with metallic fasteners, and possibly held together with a number of metallic hinges. The problem with the above design is that it is bulky, rigid and has too many parts.

For instance, an aircraft engine will have a linear metallic hinge line that allows the splitting of engine cowl doors in parts. The metallic hinges not only add to the weight of the overall design but also introduce gaps between the parts connected by the hinge, which is aerodynamically not desired. Further, while performing routine maintenance tasks maintenance staff has to perform the tedious task of removing those fasteners to gain access to the engine.


Page 02 of 5

Another aircraft part: the Inner Bypass Duct (also known as the Inner Fan Duct or the Engine Core Cowl) needs to withstand engine operational pressure differentials between the bypass flow and the cavity between the IBD and the engine. The joints of the individual IBD panels also need to support induced loads of the pressure field into the adjacent panels. Lastly, the IBD panels need to withstand handling, vibration, and thermal stress loads. These safety concerns require a number of fasteners and intricate assembly interfaces on IBD panels, driving up maintenance time.

Hence, there is a need of a design that addresses the above mentioned limitations of existing systems.


2. Solution

The proposed solution addresses the above mentioned limitations of existing systems by utilizing lightweight composite materials and by using live hinges (live hinge is a connecting feature between two portions or sub-components of a single, continuous part that allows relative movement between said sub-components through the flexure of the material connecting said sub-components). The proposed system integrates multiple lightweight compo...