(19)
(11)EP 3 001 021 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
24.06.2020 Bulletin 2020/26

(21)Application number: 15186762.9

(22)Date of filing:  24.09.2015
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
F02K 3/115(2006.01)
F02C 7/055(2006.01)
B01D 46/10(2006.01)
F02C 7/14(2006.01)

(54)

HAIL SCREEN IN THE INLET OF A CONDUIT TO A HEAT EXHANGER OF AN AIRCRAFT ENGINE

GITTER GEGEN HAGEL IM EINLAUF ZU EINEM ÖLKUHLER EINES FLUGZEUGTRIEBWERKS

ÉCRAN CONTRE LA GRÊLE DANS UN CONDUIT COMPRENANT UN ÉCHANGEUR DE CHALEUR DANS UNE TURBOMACHINE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 25.09.2014 US 201462055318 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
30.03.2016 Bulletin 2016/13

(73)Proprietor: United Technologies Corporation
Farmington, CT 06032 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • SNYDER, Ryan K.
    Glastonbury, CT Connecticut 06033 (US)
  • HEIMS, Eric J.
    Avon, CT Connecticut 06001 (US)

(74)Representative: Dehns 
St. Bride's House 10 Salisbury Square
London EC4Y 8JD
London EC4Y 8JD (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
DE-A1- 2 212 708
US-A- 3 121 545
US-A1- 2009 038 880
US-A- 2 931 460
US-A1- 2008 257 160
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] Within an aircraft, an oil system is frequently used. Oil is used for cooling and lubricating various aircraft entities, such as rotating shaft bearings, a fan drive gear system, and a gearbox, where the gearbox extracts power from an engine for purposes of driving generators, pumps, and auxiliary components/devices. The oil system includes a tank for storing bulk oil and pipes that connect the tank to the various entities that require the oil.

    [0002] A cooler may be used to remove heat from the oil. An air-oil cooler uses air for purposes of providing a cooling fluid. For example, air is taken from the fan bypass, flowed through the cooler, and returned to the fan bypass as an exhaust.

    [0003] Foils located in the cooler are fragile, such that the foils are susceptible to damage if subjected to a direct impact from large objects (e.g., hail stones). Measures need to be taken to ensure that the foils are not damaged; otherwise, the reliability and availability of the aircraft may be compromised.

    [0004] US 2931460 discloses a debris guard for an air-intake duct of a gas turbine engine. The debris guard comprises means for permitting a flow of air in a direction axially of the duct, and for impeding or preventing the passage of discrete bodies of above a predetermined size in all directions downstream of the duct other than in a direction which is transverse to and inclined upwardly of a horizontal plane which includes the axis of the duct. US3329377 discloses a similar system known from the state of the art.

    BRIEF SUMMARY



    [0005] The following presents a simplified summary in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the disclosure. The summary is not an extensive overview of the disclosure. It is neither intended to identify key or critical elements of the disclosure nor to delineate the scope of the disclosure. The following summary merely presents some concepts of the disclosure in a simplified form as a prelude to the description below.

    [0006] The present invention provides a system for an aircraft as defined in claim 1.

    [0007] In some embodiments, the first portion is located in a line-of-sight of the cooler with respect to the fluid inlet and the second portion is located out of the line-of-sight of the cooler with respect to the fluid inlet. In some embodiments, the grid of the first portion is composed of segments, and each segment measures approximately 0.04 inches or 0.10 centimeters across and/or 0.38 inches or 0.97 centimeters in terms of depth.

    [0008] In some embodiments, the fluid inlet is configured to receive air from a fan, and wherein the cooler is configured to remove heat from a fluid using the air. In some embodiments, the system further comprises: a bellows seal coupled to the fluid inlet, and an inlet duct coupled to the cooler, wherein the screen is configured to be mounted between the bellows seal and the inlet duct. In some embodiments, the screen comprises a flange, wherein the flange comprises bolt holes configured for mounting the screen.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0009] The present disclosure is illustrated by way of example and not limited in the accompanying figures in which like reference numerals indicate similar elements.

    FIG. 1 illustrates an air-oil cooler system incorporating a hail screen.

    FIG. 2 illustrates a portion of the system of FIG 1.

    FIG. 3A is a side perspective view of a hail screen.

    FIG. 3B illustrates a cross section of a hail screen.

    FIG. 3C illustrates a perspective view of a hail screen.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0010] It is noted that various connections are set forth between elements in the following description and in the drawings (the contents of which are included in this disclosure by way of reference). It is noted that these connections are general and, unless specified otherwise, may be direct or indirect and that this specification is not intended to be limiting in this respect. A coupling between two or more entities may refer to a direct connection or an indirect connection. An indirect connection may incorporate one or more intervening entities.

    [0011] In accordance with various aspects of the disclosure, apparatuses, systems and methods are described for making and using a hail screen. In some embodiments, a hail screen is designed and manufactured to minimize/reduce a flow area blockage in order to minimize/reduce losses resulting from its inclusion. The hail screen may be designed to have a minimal weight. An area/portion of the hail screen that includes a mesh/grid may correspond to an area/portion that is in a line-of-sight with respect to a cooler (e.g., an air-oil cooler) and/or a fluid inlet (e.g., an air inlet) to minimize flow blockage. The hail screen may include an attachment flange that can easily be inserted into a flange stack within the compression capability of an inlet bellows seal.

    [0012] Referring to FIG. 1, a system 100 is shown. The system 100 may be included as part of a larger system. For example, the system 100 may be included in, or associated with, an engine of an aircraft.

    [0013] The system 100 includes an inlet 102. The inlet may be used to receive a cooling fluid, such as air. The air may include a free stream air. Alternatively or additionally, the inlet 102 may include a fan air inlet that receives air from a fan in the event that air is used as the cooling fluid.

    [0014] The inlet 102 is coupled to an inlet duct 104. The inlet duct 104 is coupled to a cooler 106 that uses the cooling fluid (e.g., air) to remove heat from a secondary fluid (e.g., oil, hydraulic fluid, air, fuel, etc.). The air is removed from the system via an exhaust duct 108 coupled to the air-oil cooler 106.

    [0015] The system 100 includes an oil inlet/input port 112 and an oil outlet/output port 114. Within the system 100, oil may be contained in a matrix of small diameter tubes (or plates) with cooling fins. Air may flow through the space between these tubes and absorb the heat as the air washes over the surface of the tubes and fins.

    [0016] The orientation of the system 100 relative to the orientation of the aircraft is reflected via the forward (FWD) and aft (AFT) arrows.

    [0017] The system 100 may be used to support any type of heat exchanger. The heat exchange relationship could involve fluids/materials of any type, such as fuel, oil, air, etc.

    [0018] While the system 100 may be utilized/deployed in connection with a cooler in a bypass flow, aspects of the disclosure may be used in other environments or contexts. For example, one or more portions of the system 100 may be mounted to a pylon, a pre-cooler, or a fan case and ducted from a fan inlet cowl.

    [0019] Referring to FIGS. 1-2, coupling the inlet 102 and the inlet duct 104 to one another are an inlet bellows seal 120 and a hail screen 122. As shown in FIG. 2, the bellows seal 120 is compressible, such that the hail screen 122 may be inserted/mounted between the bellows seal 120 and the inlet duct 104. In this respect, the hail screen 122 may be added to preexisting/legacy platforms/configurations/systems that otherwise did not provision for hail stone protection. The hail screen 122 may be made of one or more materials, such as one or more metals.

    [0020] Referring to FIG. 2, a dashed reference line 226 is superimposed for purposes of illustration/description. Due to the shape of the inlet duct 104, or the relative positioning of the bellows seal 120 and the cooler 106, the portion of the hail screen 122 above the line 226 does not lie within a line-of-sight of the cooler 106. If a hail stone were to enter the inlet 102 /bellows seal 120 at a position above the line 226, the hail stone would break apart or fragment upon contacting the upper edge/portion of the inlet duct 104. Accordingly, and as shown in FIGS. 3B-3C, a first portion/area 332 of the hail screen 122 below the line 226 may include a mesh/grid in order to provide hail stone protection due to being in the line-of-sight of the cooler 106, whereas a second portion/area 334 of the hail screen 122 above the line 226 might not include a mesh/grid (e.g., may be grid-free) so as to avoid restricting air flow unnecessarily due to being out of the line-of-sight of the cooler 106.

    [0021] Referring to FIG. 3B, the material (reflected via the segments 336) of the mesh/grid portion 332 may be sized to avoid restricting airflow unnecessarily while still providing the requisite hail stone protection. In some embodiments, the material (segments 336) may each measure approximately 0.04 inches or 0.10 centimeters across (e.g., each of the segments 336 of the grid/mesh may be approximately 0.10 centimeters thick in FIG. 3B). Similarly, the material (reflected via the segments 336) of the mesh/grid portion 332 in FIG. 3C may measure approximately 0.38 inches or 0.97 centimeters in terms of depth and may be selected to provide sufficient strength in the event of a hail stone striking the hail screen 122. Of course, the dimensions are illustrative and other dimensions may be used in the composition of the mesh/grid potion 332.

    [0022] FIG. 3A provides a general sense of the depth/thickness of the hail screen 122. As described above, the hail screen 122 may be of relatively modest dimensions such that the hail screen 122 can be inserted/mounted between the bellows seal 120 and the inlet duct 104. As shown in FIGS. 3B-3C, the hail screen 122 may incorporate bolt holes 340 in a flange 342 to support such a mounting.

    [0023] In FIGS. 3B-3C, the grid/mesh portion 332 is shown as being arranged using square/rectangular boxes or a square/rectangular geometry. Other geometries/shapes/patterns (e.g., triangles, circles, ovals, etc.) may be used for the grid in some embodiments.

    [0024] While some of the examples were described above in connection with protecting against hail stones, one skilled in the art would appreciate that aspects of the disclosure may be applied/used to protect against damage from any type of foreign object. Furthermore, a screen in accordance with one or more aspects of the disclosure may be incorporated on one or more systems or platforms, such as one or more types of aircraft.

    [0025] Technical effects and benefits of the disclosure include an enhancement in terms of safety/reliability of a cooler, and more specifically, foils located in the cooler. A hail screen of modest dimensions may be used to protect the foils without impacting surrounding/adjacent hardware and with a negligible impact on the performance of the cooler.


    Claims

    1. A system (100) for an aircraft comprising:

    a fluid inlet (102);

    a screen (122) coupled to the fluid inlet (102), the screen comprising a first portion (332) arranged as a grid and a second portion (334) that is grid-free; and

    a cooler (106) coupled to the screen (122), wherein:

    the first portion (332) is located in a line-of-sight of the cooler (106) with respect to the fluid inlet (102); and

    the second portion (334) is located out of the line-of-sight of the cooler (106) with respect to the fluid inlet (102).


     
    2. The system (100) of claim 1, wherein the grid of the first portion (332) comprises segments (336).
     
    3. The system (100) of claim 2, wherein each segment measures approximately 0.04 inches (0.10 centimeters) across.
     
    4. The system (100) of claim 2 or 3, wherein each segment (336) measures approximately 0.38 inches (0.97 centimetres) in terms of depth.
     
    5. The system (100) of claim 2, 3 or 4, wherein the grid of the first portion (332) is composed of metal segments (336).
     
    6. The system (100) of any preceding claim, wherein the grid of the first portion (332) is shaped as one of a square and a rectangle.
     
    7. The system (100) of any preceding claim, wherein the fluid inlet (102) is configured to receive air from a fan, and wherein the cooler (106) is configured to remove heat from a fluid using the air.
     
    8. The system (100) of any preceding claim, further comprising:

    a bellows seal (120) coupled to the fluid inlet (102); and

    an inlet duct (104) coupled to the cooler (106),

    wherein the screen (122) is configured to be mounted between the bellows seal (120) and the inlet duct (104).


     
    9. The system (100) of any preceding claim, wherein the screen (122) comprises a flange (342), and wherein the flange (342) comprises bolt holes (340) configured for mounting the screen (122).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. System (100) für ein Luftfahrzeug, Folgendes umfassend:

    einen Fluideinlass (102);

    ein Gitter (122), das an den Fluideinlass (102) gekoppelt ist, wobei das Gitter einen ersten Abschnitt (332), der netzförmig angeordnet ist, und einen zweiten Abschnitt (334), der netzfrei ist, umfasst; und

    einen Kühler (106), der an das Gitter (122) gekoppelt ist, wobei:

    sich der erste Abschnitt (332) in Bezug auf den Fluideinlass (102) in einer Fluchtlinie mit dem Kühler (106) befindet; und

    sich der zweite Abschnitt (334) in Bezug auf den Fluideinlass (102) außerhalb der Fluchtlinie des Kühlers (106) befindet.


     
    2. System (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Netz des ersten Abschnitts (332) Segmente (336) umfasst.
     
    3. System (100) nach Anspruch 2, wobei jedes Segment quer etwa 0,10 cm (0,04 in) misst.
     
    4. System (100) nach Anspruch 2 oder 3, wobei jedes Segment (336) etwa 0,97 cm (0,38 in) tief ist.
     
    5. System (100) nach Anspruch 2, 3 oder 4, wobei das Netz des ersten Abschnitts (332) aus Metallsegmenten (336) besteht.
     
    6. System (100) nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Netz des ersten Abschnitts (332) entweder die Form eines Quadrats oder eines Rechtecks aufweist.
     
    7. System (100) nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Fluideingang (102) dazu konfiguriert ist, Luft von einem Gebläse zu empfangen, und wobei der Kühler (106) dazu konfiguriert ist, einem Fluid mithilfe der Luft Wärme zu entziehen.
     
    8. System (100) nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, Folgendes umfassend:

    eine Faltenbalgdichtung (120), die an den Fluideingang (102) gekoppelt ist; und

    einen Eingangskanal (104), der an den Kühler (106) gekoppelt ist,

    wobei das Gitter (122) dazu konfiguriert ist, zwischen der Faltenbalgdichtung (120) und dem Einlasskanal (104) angebracht zu werden.


     
    9. System (100) nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Gitter (122) einen Flansch (342) umfasst, und wobei der Flansch (342) Schraubenlöcher (340) umfasst, die dazu konfiguriert sind, das Gitter (122) anzubringen.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système (100) pour un avion comprenant :

    une entrée de fluide (102) ;

    un écran (122) couplé à l'entrée de fluide (102), l'écran comprenant une première partie (332) agencée en tant que grille et une seconde partie (334) qui est exempte de grille ; et

    un refroidisseur (106) couplé à l'écran (122), dans lequel :

    la première partie (332) est située dans une ligne de visée du refroidisseur (106) par rapport à l'entrée de fluide (102) ; et

    la seconde partie (334) est située hors de la ligne de visée du refroidisseur (106) par rapport à l'entrée de fluide (102) .


     
    2. Système (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la grille de la première partie (332) comprend des segments (336).
     
    3. Système (100) selon la revendication 2, dans lequel chaque segment mesure approximativement 0,04 pouce (0,10 centimètre) de diamètre.
     
    4. Système (100) selon la revendication 2 ou 3, dans lequel chaque segment (336) mesure approximativement 0,38 pouce (0,97 centimètre) en termes de profondeur.
     
    5. Système (100) selon la revendication 2, 3 ou 4, dans lequel la grille de la première partie (332) est composée de segments métalliques (336).
     
    6. Système (100) selon une quelconque revendication précédente, dans lequel la grille de la première partie (332) a la forme d'un carré et d'un rectangle.
     
    7. Système (100) selon une quelconque revendication précédente, dans lequel l'entrée de fluide (102) est configurée pour recevoir de l'air d'un ventilateur, et dans lequel le refroidisseur (106) est configuré pour éliminer la chaleur d'un fluide en utilisant l'air.
     
    8. Système (100) selon une quelconque revendication précédente, comprenant en outre :

    un joint de soufflet (120) couplé à l'entrée de fluide (102) ; et

    un conduit d'entrée (104) couplé au refroidisseur (106),

    dans lequel l'écran (122) est configuré pour être monté entre le joint de soufflet (120) et le conduit d'entrée (104).


     
    9. Système (100) selon une quelconque revendication précédente, dans lequel l'écran (122) comprend une bride (342), et dans lequel la bride (342) comprend des trous de boulon (340) configurés pour monter l'écran (122).
     




    Drawing














    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description