NEXTAIR brings together 16 partners from 6 countries, including 4 leading aeronautical industries, 3 innovative SMEs and 9 renowned research organisations. Together, they will develop and demonstrate innovative multi-disciplinary design methodologies, data-fusion techniques, and smart health-assessment tools enabling the digital transformation in aircraft design, manufacturing, and maintenance towards the next climate-neutral aircraft configurations. More specifically, NEXTAIR will develop Digital Enablers covering the whole aircraft life cycle (from the first design phases, including manufacturing aspects, up to operability) devoted to ease:
The project activities are implemented through 8 Work Packages (WP) with specific objectives:
WP 1 - Digital Enablers for Efficient Aircraft Ecosystem Design
WP2 - Machine learning for accelerating digital transformation
WP3 - Next Generation Airframe Design
WP4 - Next-generation engine design and integration
WP5 - UQ and Robust Optimisation for Flawless Entry into Service and Operability of New Components
WP6 - Digital Twin of Future Engine Components
WP7 - Dissemination, Exploitation & Communication
WP8 - Management
Four relevant Technological Streams are identified in NEXTAIR based on their potential to contribute to greener aviation and their industrial relevance. For each Technology Stream, 2 Test Cases have been selected and will be implemented by dedicated teams.
TC1: HARW small-medium range aircraft
HARW technology poses major challenges for aero-structure design (flutter, handling qualities, and controllability,…). The main focus will be on using Hi-Fi MDO tools with new capabilities to account for dynamic constraints. In addition, robust design approaches to uncertainties on shape and structural parameters will be demonstrated.
Partners responsible: AIRBUS, ONERA, DLR, IRT, NTUA, FOSS, INRIA
TC2: Laminar HARW business jet configuration
NLF technology poses major challenges on transition modelling and robustness to shape deviations and manufacturing tolerance. The main focus will be on the Differential RSM enhancement via data-fusion, efficient MOO and robust NLF design to shape variations.
Partners responsible: DAV, NTUA, DLR, INRIA, FOSS
TC3: Ultra High Bypass Ratio Fan
Major design challenges are associated to performance degradation in off-design conditions (e.g. stall range, flutter, surge margin,…). and due to damage. The focus will be on multi-fidelity approaches to embed HiFi simulation data in MDO as well as on ML techniques for robust design (e.g. blade manufacturing envelope) and digital twinning of existing components.
Partners responsible: RR, UNICA, ICL, USFD, IRT
TC4: Unducted Single Fan
Open rotor technology leads to complex aerodynamic interactions between the fan and the outlet guide vanes becoming source of noise. The focus will be on more efficient algorithms to reduce the cost of aero-acoustic prediction, explore larger dimensional design spaces and master uncertainties via robust design.
Partners responsible: SAFRAN, ONERA, NTUA, IRT, INRIA
TC5: Wing-USF engine aero-propulsive interactions
Taking into account the aerodynamic field of the aircraft on the engine is mandatory and conversely. The focus will be on robust co-design exploiting the UQ framework as well as the adjoint body-force method for fully coupled aero-propulsive optimisations.
Partners responsible: ONERA, SAFRAN, IRT, INRIA
TC6: Wing-engine-exhaust interactions
Contrails introduce a major challenge to reduce climate aviation’s impact due to their higher radiative forcing effect. The focus will be on wing-engine design modifications to affect particle dispersion and dedicated MDO approaches for aerodynamic, acoustic performance and contrail generation trade-offs.
Partners responsible: RR, USFD
TC7: High-pressure turbine blades
Major design challenges are associated to multiple conflicting objectives (aerodynamics, thermal, structural and lifting), in the presence of significant uncertainties (BCs, manufacturing, deteriorations). The focus will on MOO with fast design space exploration enabled by multi-fidelity and ML-driven instant CFD as well as on robust MDO.
Partners responsible: RR, UNICA, ICL
TC8: Heat exchanger for hybrid electric engines
HE represent a key component for future electric and hybrid engines. The main challenge is maximising the efficiency and compactness. The focus will be on removing conventional constraints on design space as enabled by topology optimisation and addictive manufacturing supported and improved by a digital twinning process.
Partners responsible: RR, IRT, OPT, VICOM
The aim is to deliver transformative digital and eco-efficient manufacturing technologies, advance further composite manufacturing, Maintenance-Repair-Overhaul and health assessment processes and procedures that will allow flawless entry into service and continuous airworthiness of European aircrafts of all platforms. In that regard, it will open the way to increased synergies and feedback among design, manufacturing, and MRO phases in the aircraft life cycle.
The aim is to increase green technologies in aviation, consequently reducing aviation sector impact on the environment (CO2, non-CO2, noise…). In other words, such project will allow to reduce fuel burn and CO2 between the existing in-service aircraft and the next generation.
The project will generate a new breakthrough on enablers for the digital transformation of European industry.
Digital transformation in the aviation industry substantially impacts all areas of the industry's supply chain, such as air traffic management, aircraft operations, aircraft, and component manufacturing. NEXTAIR will help EU players to have a leadership position in the growing aviation digital transformation market (for example, MRO market is projected to grow from €520 million in 2020 to €1,500 million by 2030).
Aircraft design procedures will routinely benefit from smart ingestion of increasing available real data. The smart pairing will continuously improve the operability of manufactured and in service components with more accurate and faster virtual predictions.
NEXTAIR tools will also support the development of any new aircraft configurations, following the evolution of the aviation sector. NEXTAIR will offer key enablers to the European aviation industry to adapt to new market organization and needs, or new forms of mobility, therefore contributing to its competitiveness. In a nutshell, it is expected to increase efficiency of the design process (reduction of cost and time needed).
Funded by the European Union under the GA number: 101056732. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.
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